|From the, "what the..?" department|
- "Bad Olympic photos: How terrible shots went viral" by Heather Murphy
- "A Few Words About Joe Klamar’s Viral (and “Obviously Terrible”) Olympic Portraits" by Michael Shaw
- "Photographing over 100 Olympic athletes in three days" by Vernon Bryant
- "Portraits of Team USA 2012" courtesy of CBS News
What prompted me to post about the photographer and his images was not the alleged quality of the images or the lack of constraint in releasing them publicly. Instead I want to talk about the comments other readers are leaving on these sites in regards to Klamar's photos.
One after the other the discussion is about one of several topics;
- I would have shot it better
- I can't believe they released these bad photos
- The images are a disgrace to our athletes
- The images are artistic interpretations
- The images make a non-conformist/anti-establishment statement
Whether the images were created purposely or accidentally to be this bad will forever be the topic of contemplation. So too will the reasoning behind why the editors chose to release these images to the public. Specially when the name behind them is as auspicious as Getty Images. You can also contemplate why the photographer dared to submit these. But the truth of the matter is that they did get submitted, they did get approved and they did get released to the public.
It's interesting to note that while I was reading some of the comments I actually Googled some of the names of many of the people who commented negatively. None of them have a name of their own, meaning they are no one of particular importance to the photographic community. They're either local wedding/portrait photographers or hobbyists. Some didn't even have a background in photography which I thought was sad.
Not a single name stood out as having any photographic credibility. This reminds me of the saying, "everyone's a critic" but it also reminds me of the saying about opinions being like a certain orifice; everyone has one.
I'm of the opinion that if a comment doesn't move a conversation forward or add something new it's not worth commenting. Why repeat what ten other people before you wrote? Personally I love the controversy these images stirred up. I love that this guy has found his place on the map. I can guarantee he's going to profit from this, in one way or another. I predict his fifteen minutes of fame will go a long way regardless of my personal feelings about this series of images.
We need a few more Joe Klamars to kick the hornet's nest and get people talking.