Mind the Gap !

What gap’s that? The gap between camera club photography and, what at times, seems like most other published photography today.

Each year, an international jury awards the Leica Oskar Barnack Award to a (professional) photographer whose panel of 10-12 images best documents the interaction between man and the environment, with contemporary visual style – creative, groundbreaking and unintrusive.

Entries for the 2013 Award have just been opened and this led me here to glance at the 2012 winners.

Whether you like them or not, what struck me forcibly is that these entries are a million miles away from typical camera club fare.

For example – how would this image by the 2012 (Newcomer) Winner, Piotr Zbierski, be viewed at club level?

Screen shot 2012-12-10 at 12.23.14

Sharp? Good composition following the Rule of Thirds? No burnt-out highlights and good detail in the shadows? Not a bit of it.

But a prestigious panel of international judges think it one of the best in a competition open only to professional photographers, and sponsored by what might be regarded as a “conservative” camera manufacturer.

The thing about photography is that it’s broad enough to accommodate all tastes and interests. So you might think.

Yet some would feel that camera clubs seem determined to remain stuck in a time warp of well focused, beautifully exposed, traditionally composed, technical pictures.

But maybe pictures that too often fail to express any real emotion or message?

Or is that what many of us feel more comfortable with, and the arty pretentious stuff is too clever for it’s own good?


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