There is a struggle going on in documentary photography between proponents of journalistic ethics and practices and those who believe that new visual and storytelling strategies are needed to communicate effectively in the modern world. The controversies surrounding this year’s World Press Photo awards have amplified this debate.
This remains one of the strangest photography-related stories I’ve run across.
Photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz discusses her controversial documentary coverage of a domestic violence incident she photographed when she was a student at Ohio University
Shaw says the judges initially awarded Troilo’s entry 3rd Place, but then two of the four judges “became uneasy” with the project and asked Shaw to contact the photographer for more information and clarification.
Michele McNally, director of photography and assistant managing editor of The New York Times, offers this perspective: “The vast majority of the 20 percent were obvious deceptions – there were addition or subtraction of material, that was really evident.”
“Digital darkroom processing…is not the same as the old wet, analog darkroom,” said McNally. That is why the rules are outdated: “So much does not apply and we need clearer standards.”
Then I spoke to Canadian photojournalist Donald Weber, one of the judges for the World Press Photo Awards. He was a jury member at both stages of the process that selected Troilo as the winner of his category. Weber took a more philosophically complex view (or a sophistic one, depending on your stance). He described, in e-mails, how he shot the EuroMaidan protests in Kiev and saw the whole thing, with its costumes and its audience, as theatre on a vast stage. “The whole goddamn thing is staged, Gaza was staged, large news events by their very nature are theatrical … As a photographer, you have to spend time with a subject to gain trust, you have to earn their comfort and their freedom to allow you into their lives … so, there’s a ballet, a dance, a theatrical element to our relationship … Is this not staged? … The only photographer that is offering a pure image is that of a Reaper drone in Pakistan, flying 20,000 feet above, undetectable … That’s total neutrality. Is that what we want?” Weber points out that the “photo of the year” winner, shot in a private St. Petersburg apartment with the consent and collaboration of its two subjects, could easily have attracted the ire of what he calls the “fundamentalists.”
It was stated that over 20% of the finalists were “disqualified” for manipulation of some sort. Again, Kudos for making a stand. But without showing examples or defining exactly what was done that was considered egregious, you have actually done a disservice to the photographic community.
The decision to rescind the award came a day after a leading photojournalism festival, Visa Pour L’Image, said it would not show any World Press Photos this year to protest what it said were staged photos
the Mail’s editorial model depends on little more than dishonesty, theft of copyrighted material, and sensationalism so absurd that it crosses into fabrication
Photography is too important to be left to those who haven’t lived in our world. In a time when everyone with a phone is a photographer, there remains a clear need for a corps of professionals who make great pictures, tell important stories, and show life as it is to the rest of society
Photographer Giovanni Troilo’s controversial prize-winning entry to the World Press Photo competition is under new scrutiny today because of reports that Troilo did not shoot one of the images where he said he shot it, according to Lars Boering, Managing Director of World Press Photo.
A parallel trend to consider is how much photojournalism, including news photography, has upped the “artistic quotient” and become that much more interpretive and artistic form. If there has been plenty of discussion about this trend inside the “photojournalism space,” there has been very little of it in the context of how a more abstract and artistic documentary approach – one in which the depiction of gangbangs and sex in cars and obese people sitting in the dark or artfully posing in the dark again with guns — might be a concern to mayors or citizens of these town with access to this newfangled thing called the Internet.
When photographers asks for better ethics policing from an organization that is “committed to supporting and advancing high standards in photojournalism” and aspires to be a “think tank of the industry,” you have a credibility issue.
My cousin accepted to be portrayed while fornicating with a girl in his friend’s car. For them it was not strange. There are parkings popular for the couples exchanging sex with others, also single men and women can watch anonymously the acts through the foggy windows of the cars. “Shame has died,” one says in Charleroi.
The photographer told World Press about this photograph, “My cousin accepted to be portrayed while fornicating with a girl in his friend’s car. For them it was not strange. There are parkings popular for the couples exchanging sex with others, also single men and women can watch anonymously the acts through the foggy windows of the cars.
While World Press Photo describes itself as a photojournalism and documentary photography contest, this statement seems to grant permission to photographers to set-up or stage scenes that would “ordinarily” take place.
Magnette says that rather than being a situation Troilo came across, the photo was “a staging with the cousin of the photographer.”
Images of Charleroi by Italian photographer Giovanni Troilo “profoundly dishonest,” says city’s mayor
Doctored photos are as old as photography itself, with countless examples throughout history. “Back in the days of film photography, a laboratory technician could always tamper with an image in the dark room, but you really had to be an artist to pull it off,” explains AFP’s chief photo editor Eric Baradat. “Whereas now it’s within the reach of pretty much anyone.”
“These last few days there have been many comments, accusations and demands about this throughout social media circles,” Dolan said. “But rather than accusing, I believe what we need to be doing is questioning – WHY is this happening and, more importantly, WHAT can we do to change it?”