What you see is what you see….the rest is interpretation

“True” circumstances around the photo that won the World Press Photo Award for 2006 – by photographer Spencer Platt – are revealed by one of the people pictured in the photo – Bissan Maroun. Article via this Conscientious entry and original story found here… Seems that the complexity and apparent contradiction in the image (between what is assumed by viewers – and the “real story” offered by one the people pictured) – coupled with the classification as a “press photo” have led to a number of “readings” interpretations and assumptions …

This quoted from the World Press photo award website:

“The picture shows a group of young Lebanese driving through
a South Beirut neighborhood devastated by Israeli bombings. The picture was
taken on 15 August 2006, the first day of the ceasefire between Israel and
Hezbollah when thousands of Lebanese started returning to their

World Press Photo jury chair Michele McNally describes the
winning image: “It’s a picture you can keep looking at. It has the complexity
and contradiction of real life, amidst chaos. This photograph makes you look
beyond the obvious.” ”

Perhaps this is where a “press photo” is most dangerous. It is an important distinction – to describe what the photo is showing – and what we pretty quickly jump to about what the photo might be telling us …

Leading a horse to water….

Inviting one to “look beyond the obvious”… the problem is that most of “us” probably won’t / don’t take the time or effort or have the interest to go that extra step to understand what we are looking at and how these images inform our opinions. On the other hand – once a photo provokes a little more attention … more “back story” becomes available. It’s up to us the “viewer” … and this is were it becomes a dialogue (hopefully) that is interesting to get into…

Makes me wonder just how often are we lulled / seduced by what we see and the instance opinions formulated?

More of Spencer Platt’s work can be found here… via Getty Images….

More Art photo than press photo ?

Preface: It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. – Oscar Wilde


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