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State of Alert

July 24, 2009

MP_SlidesHey folks,

Someone just sent me this link this morning, and I thought it was really important to repost this.

What is said in this interview, with Jean-Francois Leroy, the founder and director of Visa pour l’Image in France, is critical for people to hear.

When a photographer says these things it can come across as someone with an ax to grind, or someone who is complaining, being negative, no pun intended, etc. Believe me, I’ve voiced some of these exact same concerns and observations and have been labeled these exact things.

The state of documentary work is in limbo with real possibility of this “field” going away entirely. I don’t mean that people will stop making documentary pictures, but the industry that supports it, the industry that is currently on life support, might just die altogether. Perhaps that is the best thing that could possibly happen. Perhaps we need total and complete destruction to realize how far we have fallen.

There were several things he said I just can’t pass up, again, things I’ve said a hundred times, and yet find an audience who thinks its just Milnor being Milnor. Glad to know I’m not alone.

My favorite line from the post. “Everyone gets annoyed when I say that digital technology means we have more and more people taking photos and fewer and fewer photographers; and now it’s the same for multimedia…”

He goes on to say that multimedia for the sake of multimedia is NOT ENOUGH. So what you have sound and motion. How are the photographs? We have to be demanding, and critical, and keep the bar raised to some level to keep our profession alive. Right now, there is no bar. It fell so far, so fast, we have to tunnel to find it.

He goes on to say he is having trouble with even holding the festival due to the lack of real reportage. I’ve been to this festival at least five times, and was able to see, over the years, a decline in quality of work. I don’t think this is a secret. Just because we can get something quickly, doesn’t mean it has any value.

JFL also goes about rates, agencies, magazines, etc, and I do think for all photogs, and especially those starting out, you need to hear it. You simply will not find this in main stream, American publications, they seem to be too connected to their advertising to go this far.

Here is the link to the interview: Jean-Francois Leroy Interview

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