23 February 2013

Magnum in ROC ~ Fallout

 I have on several occasions posted here about the descent, last spring, of a group of Magnum photographers on Rochester, New York [1] [2] [3]. I work in the city, my son lives there and I live in the nearby countryside. Yesterday my friend Michael Shaw, perpetrator of the terrific web site BagNewsNotes published this post questioning some of the award-winning work that emerged from the Magnum visit. In particular, Michael raised a set of pointed questions about work by Paolo Pellegrin. I invite readers to head off to (1) view the work at issue, for which Pellegrin recently won a World Press Photo prize and (2) read Micheal's initial post. You might also have a look at Pellegrin's reply here, at this post at The New York Times and Micheal's response to all the hubbub here.

I had planned to write a post on this, I even concocted the map above to discuss relevant local matters. But I find that most of what I have to say is covered at the links above. My bottom line? Pellegrin's rationalization of his behavior displays a stunning lack of professionalism backed by obliviousness, excuses and cliches. I think Micheal's defense of the role of critic undermines the hand-wringing of journalists who think he ought to have contacted Pellegrin prior to making his initial post. I don't think Michael had any obligation to do so and, given Pellegrin's reply, there is no reason to think anything would have been gained had he done so.

Update: This map, accompanying this story on the fracas in our local newspaper, is much better than mine. It shows the difference having even modest facility with computer graphics can make!

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