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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Simple fact is there are no rules

Tony Fouhse, whose project User looks at the crack addicts in Ottawa, commented on the previous post on Scot Sothern. His comment is a middle finger to politeness and constructive criticism, but it hits the spot.

"I've been collaborating with a small society of crack addicts for 3 (going on 4) years. Taking fotos. Believe me, I've heard all the criticisms about exploitation, that I don't belong there, doing what I'm doing.

Simple fact is, there are no rules. Do what you want and let the chips fall. Mr Sothern is doing something. Those attacking this work are probably doing next to nothing, except complaining. If we listened to the nay-sayers and complainers, to those who would have us just represent the world and ourselves the way they see fit, well, where would that leave us?

Any time you frame anything, whether it be with a camera, with words or a paintbrush, you are exploiting. That's a given. Get over it.

If it offends you go look at fotos of sunsets, or flowers, or something"


B said...

Enh. I read that, and think it's great for him to be doing the work he's doing. More power to him. But that isn't a response to the issue at all; nobody is saying they're offended (that's the same easy cop out every racist dickbucket uses to excuse lame jokes, come on). They're bringing up the very valid issue of exploitation. It's about responsibility, and if he doesn't want to think about it that's fine, it gives him more time to commit to his work -- but if it comes around to smack him in the ass, he had his chance.

Tony Fouhse said...

Gee, I thought I was being polite. Just goes to show how everything, including comments, is open to interpretation.

adityabanerjee said...

Journalistic objectivity. If you're gonna try and document something you want to be able to capture it in its purest form.

The photographer is the intermediary between truth and awareness. If the observer wants to change what they see, its their responsibility to make the difference.

Saw this via photographypost.com and felt like commenting.

Brian Kelly said...

I was not aware of Tony Fouhse's work before I saw this post and the later one on this blog. I find the portraiture in "User" to be unflinching and honest. Exploitation would be to ask users to dress up in bunny suits and make photos of them selling chocolate. I find the subjects' dignity is well-preserved in these portraits.

I applaude your work and your outlook, Tony. It's refreshing and real. And you're absolutely right about arm-chair quarterbacks, many of them don't take many risks themselves.