I was commissioned to write this a few years ago for the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava (and thank you to all the photo...
Friday, 15 March 2013
Samuel Aranda Rock and Roll Photography
Earlier in the week there was this comment on Duckrabbit on Samuel Aranda's World Press Photo Prize Winning photo appearing on a Crystal Castle's t-shirt.
More comments here.
I understand why people object to this, but at the same time I wonder if it isn't simply because music is entertainment and there is a conflation of entertainment with pain and distress.
But where is it OK for pictures to appear? Isn't it more flippant to have it appear in a newspaper, where the opposing page might be an advert for clothes (as happened in the Guardian's recent Iraq special and as David Levi Strauss writes so eloquently in Between the Eyes) , or where the picture might be followed by an article that could be offensive in some way.
How about a website or a blog? Why is having the picture on a blog like mine or Duckrabbit's any less offensive than having it on a Crystal Castles t-shirt? And what if it is offensive to the people featured on the t-shirt to even discuss the picture in the way we discuss it. Is that offensive and if it is does it actually matter? When and how do we change what we do or what we talk about because of the people depicted and the hurt it may cause them? And if it doesn't cause them any hurt does it matter.
It's curious to me that anybody would question why it is any less ethical to receive money from Crystal Castles than from just about any newspaper or magazine.
I really don't have a clue about any of these answers, but at the same time, I really don't see what is so wrong about the way Aranda used his picture (just as I don't see what is wrong about Duckrabbit giving its opinions without consulting Aranda!). It's extending the visual language outside its tiny little box and placing it in a different world - through a band that is quite sympathetic to the values that Aranda espouses. Well done I say. Photography needs to expand its boundaries and its thought processes.
Here's an article on Aranda meeting the family behind the picture.
Anyway, anyway, anyway...