Empathy in photography?

Of course, the ramblings about Bruce Gilden’s two-day stint in the Apalachian goes on and on:  from Photoshelter chimes in with her own piece on Bruce Gilden & the Absence of Empathy, where she again blames him for being superficial and not showing “the whole picture”.

There is also this long rant by Chuck Jines, in which he describes how he almost got into a fight with some black activists while he was taking photos at a demonstration in Ferguson. No Idea, what to make of all this: Let’s just leave it at that: There are a lot of strange ducks, both before and behind the camera.

Truth is a shaky concept, and if it get’s mixed up with morals, things get even more muddy. I sometimes wonder how photographers can be so naive. Just as if they have been hiding under a stone the last two hundred years and just now arrived with a fresh and happy view on a world they think they can change with a picture. And without a doubt, that it is actually the world we carry around in our little boxes, after we shut it in with a press of the finger. The indian, who did not want his photo taken because he was afraid that the photographer will stole his soul – he was probably right. And Bruce Gilden probably couldn’t care less.



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Matt Black: The Monster in the Mountains


I believe that when you present something that’s real, that’s well done, and told in an honest way, people are moved. I think the bemoaning that this has been lost is more often used as an excuse for not doing the work, or for excusing poor quality: “Oh we can’t do this because no one cares anymore.” I think that’s too simplistic, too easy a way out.

Matt Black in an Interview

I stumbled upon Matt Black while I was looking for people using mapping and data-visualisation together with photography: He did this when he was following the trail of the poverty line in America and photographing the people that have drop beneath it and,  as it sometimes appears, almost out of sight. The pictures that came out of his five year travel look like they could have been done in the thirties or fourties of last century:

Geography of Poverty](http://www.msnbc.com/interactives/geography-of-poverty/ne.html)

And he documented his travel on Instagram – so he is both at the same time very modern and almost ancient, atavistic in his means. I don’t know if the world at one point just stopped moving into a common direction, or if it is just this ubiquity of media, that makes us suddenly aware, that all our clocks are out of sync. And while the western world describes the last 60 years after WWII as some sort of “progress” or even as a success-story, from other view-points than the eye of the storm we are living in, this history is interpreted completely different…

The Monster in the Mountain is a story about the 43 students that went missing in a little town in Mexico and are assumed to be dead.

I think he is right: If the work is good, people will notice. We are not made out of stone, although, sometimes when I read and see these stories, I wish I would be…





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American Photo 1996 : Is Photojournalism dead ?

Photography has a minor role in the media nowadays. Television, with its ability to reach the masses in real time, is the leader . Most photographers are operators whose version of reality must stick to the version on television- the official version. This visual standardization is increased by technology. The fast transmission of pictures is not a plus anymore; it is necessary for survival. Conferences, festivals, museum exhibitions, new grants and prizes all prove that photojournalism is in a process of institutionalization. Although photojournalism has lost its audience and role in public life, it has gained prestige. It ‘s becoming a cultural object, sometimes superfluous and often self-absorbed. And the fact that photojournalism is obsessed with its future is the· first symptom; if it was really alive, living would be enough and there would be no need to talk about it.

— LUC DELAHAYE Photographer, Magnum, Paris

Flashback to 1996: American Photo (which has now ceased to exist) had asked several photojournalists about the state of the union:

Is Photojournalism Dead?




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Toni Greaves: Radical Love

Do yourself a favor and invest one hour of your life into watching Toni Greaves’ documentary about a cloister in New Jersey:


Toni Greaves follows the first years of a young woman who has chosen to become a nun: She documents the spiritual and every-day lives of this enclosed community, and she does it with wonderful, calming pictures. And if you’re in doubt that in our fast paced life there is still a need and a place for documentary photography, this is the thing to watch to make your doubts calm down and go away.




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