With photography, the best thing to do is look straight at the person, place, or situation you are photographing and just press the shutter without thinking about anything. By doing this, the power of the subject comes across, and this is the strength of the photographic genre. I feel that among recent submissions to the competition, perhaps too many have been mentally conceptualized beforehand, or suffered from the overuse of sophisticated camera functions.

Photographers should remind themselves of the basic truth that if the subject is not good, the photograph won’t be any good either. They need to take more of a hands-off approach, and focus on having encounters with things and people. So for this year’s competition, I chose works that gave me the impression that the photographer had done just that.

I didn’t feel that the submissions to this year’s competition were particularly different from those submitted at previous competitions. Even so, it’s a fact that the skill level is so high now that I just assume all the work I look at will demonstrate a high level of skill. This means that it’s pointless to pick winners and losers on the basis of skill alone. In addition, elaborately produced photographs that have been forced to incorporate some kind of drama inevitably turn out to be weak.

Photographs must depict things that are important in the lives of the individuals who take them. Photographs that show you that the photographer got wet, sweated, or was breathing heavily can often move the viewer. It’s good to be honest and straightforward towards both your subject and your own feelings.

-Nobuyoshi Araki

excerpt from his statement at the Grand Prize selection open-committee meeting for the 2007 Canon New Cosmos award.


(via valerian)

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Clive SomervilleComment