This blog isn’t even worth writing, but what the heck.
I’ve had occasional discussions with other pundits in the photo industry on the need for visual literacy. In the past, I’ve argued that promoting visual literacy is a quixotic cause, and in fact, our western society is already more visually literate than the previous generations for the simple reason that we’re bombarded by images constantly. And with the glut, both curators and more sophisticated image makers have emerged. Thus, my argument went, visual literacy education was unnecessary.
Enter Perez Hilton.
With his trademark snark and trolling attitude, the celebrity blogger commented on the John Stanmeyer image that took top honors in the World Press Photos competition.
“About a bazillion photos get taken every day but you’re looking at (above) what the World Press Photo Academy is calling the greatest picture taken all YEAR!”
Hilton continues, “While we think Kim Kardashian’s backside selfie should have been considered too, we’re pretty sure the best photo won! Congratz John!”
There was some criticism that the Stanmeyer image wasn’t the traditional “hard news” image that has typified World Press Photo winners in the past. And yes, both the Stanmeyer and Kardashian images are, um, soft, so I guess in that respect, they should have both be considered for the top award.
The Kardashian image could possibly qualify for the “Staged Portraits” category, although it’s unclear whether selfies are allowed, and secondly, entrants must be professional photographers or photojournalists according to the World Press Photo rules.
World Press Photo does run an Academy that hosts an invite-only Masterclass, as well as a publishing program for a wider audience. And while the World Press Photo Foundation is responsible for running both the contest and the Academy, it would erroneous to state that the Stanmeyer image won an Academy contest. But one should never let the facts get in the way of snark.
Best of luck to Kim next year. We certainly hope that World Press Photo relaxes the rules of entry and wrangles some judges, like Perez Hilton, who know a good news photo when they see it.
h/t: Robert Caplin