Once again photography competitions are proving us their complete lack of ethics and simple photography knowledge.
This week in Vietnam this image has been going around.
Another classic photo of a photography tour group gathered around one subject, shooting the same image from almost the same angle. The woman seems to pose for them, probably an organized staged model for the photographers who don’t want to have to work very hard for their pictures.
If you know about travel and photography, you surely know that this isn’t the right way to photograph people. I already talked about it extensively here.
The story gets even better, when one of this photography tour participant actually won a photography competiton with an image taken there, of the same women.
The photography competition website states: ” The feelings of a Vietnamese mother whose speech disorder did not prevent her from feeling hopeful and evoking a sense of strength for her children.”
I would personally have written: “The feeling of a Vietnamese mother who is being assaulted by a group of rude photographers who probably didn’t bother to ask her about her life story. Her face evoking a sense of feeling really uncomfortable”.
I am not here to talk about the image quality, nor the overprocessing skills of the photographer. I want to talk about the fact that because this image won this competition, more people will now want to travel to North Vietnam, stage another “poor looking” woman holding a baby and blur the background. Because you know, it worked last time.
The type of photography competitions that we see today are more money making schemes are actually not being judged by people who know about travel and photography. They award a lot of images that they think are pretty but are actually boring images, often copies of images that have been taken before. A professional travel photographer would know that. These competitions do not.
Now, if you combine this “photography competition effect” to the general way of thinking that Humanity is experiencing in the 21st century (“It’s me
Staging a photo and winning a competition, is THE fastest way to reach this stage. This is the fastest shortcut you can take to obtain fame.
Now just ask yourself why you are doing photography. Do you actually enjoy photography or do you want to be a famous photographer. And if you become a famous photographer what then? Selling prints and being rich or ACTUALLY doing something with your images that will have an influence on people around you, and on the rest of the world.
These types of shortcuts people are taking are just wrong because they are anti-creativity. Creativity doesn’t come from trying to be famous, and taking photos that are being popular This is called copying.
Creativity comes from the practice of the craft, working hard on it, failing, failing again, feeling like the worst photographer, and going back again. Years of doing that.
There are no shortcuts for people who are truly trying to improve their craft. It is hard work and takes years to achieve. What we have witnessed in Vietnam this week with this image is the complete opposite. It is the McDonaldization of travel photography through photography tours that cater to people who want to become famous without working too much. And most photography competitions today are supporting that trend.
It is sad, very sad…