Olive Cotton Award: $20k Photographic Portrait prize awarded to an image that isn't a photograph

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by DanOstergren, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. DanOstergren

    DanOstergren Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ok, what? I guess the definition of a photographic "portrait" is changing, and apparently no longer actually has to include a person in it or be an actual photograph. No shade to the winner because she was simply an entrant, but to award this art piece $20,000 in a photographic portrait competition is absolutely absurd (to clarify, the image in the header is NOT the winning "portrait"; scroll down a bit on the article to see the piece that won the competition). Entrants had to pay a lot of money to enter this competition (competition fee, printing, framing, shipping), and this just seems like a complete slap in the face. I'm certainly not questioning the images merits as a unique art piece, but is it a photographic portrait? In my opinion, NO it is not, and does not deserve to win a $20,000 award in a photographic portrait competition. Would you even consider the winner to be the actual artist who created the piece, or should her grandmother be the one given credit for it's creation?

    See here: 'They feel a bit cheated': Prize-winning portrait provokes debate among photographers


     
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  2. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Shouldn't the grandmother is awarded the prize as it was the grandmother's art.

    That aside, while that could be construed as a self-portrait, there was never an intent to create a portrait. There is so much wrong with the the winning piece that one doesn't know where to start. If the judge(s) don't care to follow, or find it important to makeup their own rules ... when why even have rules ...
     
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  3. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I would speculate that participation in the contest will fade away.
     
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  4. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Dan, obviously you don't understand art.
     
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  5. pixmedic

    pixmedic The Mustached Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    rubbish.
    the winner is barely even a co-creator of....whatever that abomination is.
     
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  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yea, I have to agree that the winner was not a portrait. I can see it as a piece of art. But not a portrait. And I also agree that the winner was only a co-creator.

    I suspect there will be fewer paid participants in the future.
     
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  7. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I can understand this art piece being considered as art submitted by the grandmother BUT IMHO the only way this could have even been allowed in a photographic contest is if the judge was paid off under the table!
     
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  8. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That abomination is called "a waste of film."
     
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  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the world of high quality high priced art where the money talks more than the art.
    "But for me there's something about getting rid of the camera as an intermediary between the subject and the photographic paper"

    Basically they'll say pages of stuff to justify what is basically doodles on a bit of film. They'll find any argument or reasoning.

    Heck in my view its scrawls on a bit of film. At the very best its an abstract drawing on a medium other than paper or canvas. It's most certainly not a photo, nor is it a prize winning photo; nor is the argument behind it worthy of attention. This is either a back-hander or a huge joke on the artistic community and an insult to those who did enter the competition.


    I'm all for new ideas and new takes, but something like this is just utterly childish. If the judges were bored with 100001 entries of the "same kind of portrait" then there are surely better ways to encourage and reward creativity and diversity than this. This doesn't encourage new photographers this just insults.
     
  10. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    If you consider that the way we percieve someone is formed not only by what they look like but also their actions and, if you consider a portrait being and impression or a representation of someone I could see how this works. Sure it's stretching the definition a bit and is conceptual but it's not like she won it with a sculpture.

    I actually think it's quite good. And ultimatley if you don't like the judging don't enter the contest.
     
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  11. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    shhh it's conceptual art
     
  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Weepete the thing is this isn't even an impression of someone, its random doodles. It has nothing personal to a person what so ever in its creation and is something most children will have done at some point* (although a child would be more artistic and choose not a blank but an already exposed bit of film to doodle on ;)). There is nothing about the person in that "portrait". You can't read anything from it about the person or their personality and I would argue that those who say they can are either just making anything up or already know the person and are interpreting it within a context.

    You "might" get away if this was another form of art, but this is photography and its not even a photograph. The film isn't exposed its just been used as a drawing pad.

    *Which is another angle; skill. There is no skill in this. The doodles don't link up to form a greater display, they are not carefully placed to evoke a meaning or understanding. They are just random squiggles. Anyone of us could produce a whole 36 identical works along similar lines from a single roll of film. It would take all of 5 minutes to produce - and if anything produced on a roll of film could even be said to contain linkage one "frame" to the next. To many people its not just the creativity but the display of skill that's important so to me this is a double insult. It isn't photography; its not a portrait; its not creative nor is it skilled.
     

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