If It’s Not Art, What is It?


Over on the EditorialPhoto forums, there is a huge discussion about the Jill Greenberg controversy that everyone is talking about.

Max Shearburn’s image of a black female smoking a crack pipe was referenced, so I dug in a little deeper, and found an interesting interview on Hasselblad’s Victor magazine. Max explains:

“SHEARBURN: I use cliches an a recognizably seductive imagistic language to render divergent forms within the body of my work. In certain instances, I seek to reflect a trviality deeply ingrained in the culture I find myself housed within, but in raising that mirror I don’t seek to further trivialize issues.

VICTOR: Do we need to be provoked into awareness?

SHEABURN: I think so, but it’s not as particularly true of the current period as we may think. It’s an ongoing dialectic equation – at this point perhaps we need more balance than provocation…”

In playing up certain stereotypes through photography, are we illuminating relevant issues? Should Jill Greenberg be commended or skewered? Maybe I should just have a beer since it’s Friday.

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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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