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Photojournalism: ‘Sincere Art’ and Roiling Egypt

August 16th, 2013 No Comments

Destination Egypt

These days, Egypt is the place to be for any aspiring photojournalist, Urban Photographer, or Combat-Zone aspirant.  American Photo has published a gallery of images of civil disturbances in Cairo and other Egyptian cities.

Right from the word ‘go’ it is clear that a great photojournalistic image must also needs be a great photo.  Luck or skill, the very first photo is well composed, catches the right moment, and tells a story.  The photographer is safe and sound in a tall building yet that angle of elevation lends a detached, in a sense impartial, perspective.

Let alone capturing the right moment, here’s a photo that captures the moment . . . the moment a vehicle is falling off a bridge.

Here’s a particularly alarming photo as it seems that the men are throwing stones at you, the viewer.

The gallery is actually a comparative photo-story, giving a ‘Then-and-Now’ account of Egypt’s experiment with Parliamentary Democracy and elections.  As such, you can view some fine photojournalistic images from two years ago, such as this one of revolutionary fervour.

Credit: Checco

Talk about photojournalism, that’s one of Luciano Checco’s specialities as we see on the Leica Blog.  Given what Checco says about his photographic background and how his first exhibition came about, it’s evident that he is both humble and a natural talent.

And we do mean ‘talent’: having the ‘eye’ and the talent to take so extremely tight a close-up of a homeless mother and boy was a stroke of genius.  Composing it the way it’s composed was another stroke of genius as the viewer can’t help but ping-pong between the two corners with the faces.  It is quite an incredible photo, for it conveys tension though the subjects are asleep.

Here’s more talent: this mysterious photo – ‘shades’ of IR film – is confusing and atmospheric.  It’s unclear how it was shot but it’s pretty clear that Alfred Hitchcock would have loved it on his storyboard.  As would any director planning a The Third Man remake.

Checco is not only a natural talent, the man is something of a photography philosopher.  Consider his pithy rationale for preferring black-and-white, one of the most convincing you’ll find: “I believe that black-and-white photos are abstracts of reality that transport the focus of the viewer toward the essential elements of the subject and the overall graphic composition of the image itself. To me colors are distracting and clearly define the age of the photo whereas black-and-white photos are timeless.”

You will also find considerable technical opinions and expertise disclosed in the interview.

Artistry, however, needs no words.  This simple-seeming photograph was not so simple to conceive as it may seem; a less talented photographer may not have posed his subject as well nor taken the shot from the same angle.  What in other hands may have been soft porn is rendered here as ‘sincere art.’

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