judging your worth

What do you think of this image? Me first. It's a nice image, the sort of thing you would see on the roll, scan and put on Flickr. But that's not what happened. This image just won Australia's richest Art prize and was awarded $80, 000. it is the second year in a row this photographer has won. Now I don't know about you but I can't quite fathom why this image from an established photographer would win such a huge cash prize. It's beyond disheartening to think of how much that sort of cash could have done for an emerging talent, of which Australia has many. Competitions are funny things, everyone has an opinion that they believe is right. But I think something fishy is going on when the same select group of artists keep winning cash prizes.
This post has also been spurred by a visit to the ccp kodak salon last weekend. Every image that won was in the school of deadpan, naive art. Lots of flash on camera, lots of shit, lazy compositions. Australia's art community needs to realise that just because the general populus wouldn't like a peice it doesn't automatically make it relevant.

N.B i'm not mentioning the name of the photographer as the last thing I want id for it to come up in a google search. I need to reiterate- this is not about Australian photographers but rather about the few people within the arts community who judge what is good and what is not.



5 comments:

  1. this picture doesn't move me. it doesn't excite me. to be perfectly honest i find it a bit boring. am i missing something? two couples. each couple has one individual that seems a bit disenganged, another clinging one. it doesn't thrill me. for $80k, i want to be thrilled.

    ps, i am totes not ashamed to say i love arbus. fuck yeah. and i love shelby lee adams. HI LADY I BOUGHT YOUR CAMERA FROM YOU A LONG TIME AGO AND YOUR PICTURE MAKING IS ACE. bloody oath.

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  2. Hey Morganna. I actually initially was posting to say I noticed your photo of Tyler at Kodak Salon and wanted to say how great I thought it was in the 'flesh'. I've been looking at your series on flickr for a while and thought they looked amazing ... but there's so much more power in the real thing.

    As for the above it's a nice photo and I'm usually an admirer of said photographer ... but i don't see it as an 80K prize either. Again at Kodak Salon (where I also hung two prints) I was perplexed at some of the winners. It seemed like there were some amazing shots that should have been considered over some of the winners. Although I did love the landscape winner - but was confused about the sense of scale & thought it would have been better large - but again that's opinion.

    With BSG Picture This 10, on the other hand, this year I could see why the winners were selected - they immediately stood out when I viewed them and I could see that they would do well when I viewed them before the winners were announce.

    Perhaps it's partly down to the judges as you say. The same people are judging many of the major (and minor) prizes and have the same aesthetics so keep picking the same people who fit this aesthetic.

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  3. @ sleepy- bless your coton socks! I hope your picture making is going great and your camera is bringing you joy.

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  4. @ Nicole- The state of competitions was really getting me down when I wrote this. I always find that international competitions inspire and excite me but Australian ones just confuse and depress me! I certainly had my favorites out of the Moran finalists and am genuinely suprised not one was chosen. I worry that by choosing people who only fit one aesthetic they are kind of training photographers to shoot one way in order to be recognised?
    This was my first year in the Salon and I entered the print on a whim. I too cannot understand the images they chose but was very excited to see some incredible work on the walls too. The shot on the far wall with the girl and wolf? That has stayed firmly in my minds eye since I saw it. But I guess that's the thing with open entry shows, you get a real mix of talent and skill levels which I kind of like.
    I'll have to google Picture this- I hadn't heard of it.
    And thanks for looking at my blog!

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  5. Hi again. You're very welcome! It's a really enjoyable blog and I like the fact that you're honest about what you think about the shows.

    The egalitarian nature of open shows is also one of the things I like and that you chance upon some great photographers that you might not otherwise have found.

    Check out this years BSG winners & finalists at http://bsgart.com.au/picturethis2010.html

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