Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two controversies: 1 new; 1 old

 Photo:  Arne Svenson

Update:  8/7/2013 Judge Dismisses Privacy Lawsuit

Arne Svenson's series entitled, The Neighbors and Jill Greenberg's series entitled, "End Times" from 2006 - are two bodies of work creating new controversy and generating old controversy, respectively.

Click on the links above to get the stories and see the work.  You will need to click here to see the images from Svenson's, The Neighbors series (the link above is only an article about the controversy).

The Neighbors series is particularly noteworthy because it challenges what has been defined as street photography.  How many photojournalists have shot images in Africa, Cambodia, etc, with people fully identifiable, no model release, no compensation, and had them either exhibited or published?

As to the Greenberg series, here is a comment as posted on Facebook in response to a post on the series:

Comment (edited):
"What I get is that these images are disturbing. If you didn't know that candy being taken away was the prompt and gimmick used to get these kids so distressed, you'd think they just suffered some devastating loss. I don't particularly care for set-up shots that seem to indicate that the photographer was being cruel solely to get shots that would bother us or provide some sort of shock value or create some controversy. Unlike a photojournalist's shot that may be difficult to look at because of the horror of the reality (i.e., war shots, etc), this is something I have trouble looking at because it is staged - idea:  hey, let's upset some very little kids and make them cry and then, who knows?, let's make them cry for a good 30 minutes ... until we get our shot." 

I posted on her monkey series at one point ... they seem to be emoting, too.  Hmmm. 

And, to tie in these two artists together, how is this for irony?  Arne Svenson's, About Face series from 2011 is a collection of faces with various expressions.  Was a method used to bring out these expressions?  Yes.  Here is a statement from Svenson's site about the series,  "From one perspective the viewer sees only a neutral portrait of the student, while from the other angle one views an open spread, which reveals an expressive image of the student and an accompanying emotional motivator.  Motivators range from an image of kittens at play to a fistfight."  Is there any difference then between this and what Greenberg did?

What do you think?  I welcome and encourage your comments!  All points of view welcome.  :)

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