Africa is the new Eiffel Tower

Photo found here
What really is starting to get on my nerves is the overflow of bad documentary photography shot in the less fortunate countries in the world. It seems like almost every other photo exhibition is about Africa or India and they very, very rarely exhibit something new, something we have not seen a thousand times before. Taking pictures of poor people in "exotic" places does not automatically make a good photograph. I am well aware that attention needs to be drawn towards the issues of these countries but that is still no reason to frame every single picture taken in Africa and hang it on a gallery wall.


Can we even say that these places are exotic anymore? Africa and India have become so accessible and the overflow of pictures has almost erased the exotic label from these places. I think we can blame both the photographers and the viewers and say that they have become lazy. Surely a photographer has to know that if you are going to photograph something that has been shot many, many times before, your pictures have to be stunning and original to deserve attention.


To me, when it comes to photography, Africa is the new Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel tower is an amazing building, and I bet that if you take a pretty picture of it you will really like it. Hell, even your friends might like it. But I don't want to see it. Well, I might if it's original and gives me a new perspective, but that's rarely the case. Same thing with Africa, it's a worthy subject and feel free to go and shoot. But don't expect to automatically create a photojournalism masterpiece each time you press the button just because you are surrounded by poor people.
This is how it's done. A pulitzer price winning masterpiece by Kevin Carter

No comments:

Post a Comment