Sunday, August 10, 2008

World Press Photo Exhibit 2008

Not all that we get excited about turns out to be a fine experience. This is one personal example that will linger in my head for a very long time!

Thursday night, while cruising the World Wide Web, I chanced upon a website that ceremoniously announced the holding of the World Press Photo Exhibit 2008 August 7 to 13 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) and August 14 to 22, 2008 at 'The Block'. The ambitious and frustrated photographer in me got excited and marked my calendar that I must go and see this exhibit. Knowing such exhibits I was sure the pics would be big and vivid priceless things I could learn from.

Friday, my mind was torn between going to three separate despedida parties of some colleagues or zooming off to MOA to view the exhibit. None materialized as I got sick and unable to get out of my bed for longer than 30 minutes. Old age hehe! But sick as I was, I conditioned my mind to believe that tomorrow the flu and the headache should and must be gone - since I have the World Press Photo Exhibit to visit at MOA. I was even silently laughing at myself for the over-excitement.

Saturday, I was peppered with domestic errands and other family matters that I was not able to get away even for a quick-and-brief visit to MOA. So I consoled myself that if I can't get to MOA during this weekend there is still 'The Block'. Being from QC, I actually live near this 'The Block' and MOA is enormously far from my house.

Sunday, hah! I got a chance to roam around! You guessed it! I never had to think twice. I just caught myself and my camera on the way to MOA. Objective of the day was: head straight for the exhibit, ogle at each picture, study the technique, the colors, the framing, exposure, focus, etc etc (with a firm resolve to rest and come back if ever my feet gave). I also readied to be able to take some shots of the exhibit so that I will have my very own copies of those “famously winning pictures”. I was all too excited to just be there and admire all the pictures.

On arrival, my heart was starting to jump with joy as there were a lot of people viewing the displays. It was actually a crowd. First picture I saw was a great shot but I did not like the subject – war. And that was the apex of my excitement. Every next picture I saw was either a disturbing subject or a VERY disturbing subject. Except for a few, like the National Geographic winners, virtually all bore the topic of violence, sadness, famine, politics, and everything else negative! It removed my interest and focus on the kind of photography these winners do to win!

It probably is just me not wanting to face realities squarely? Or might the recent news media (photographers included) have that misplaced notion that anything negative is news? Whatever, if that is really the real reality, I am not about ready to accept it yet. I still believe that this is generally a beautiful world we live in despite those disturbing news that sporadically (okay, frequently) flash all over the various news media.

Final verdict… I did not like it. Why? It was not representative of what I call “great photography” nor was it representative of the world I live in (together with all of you). Rather, it is an attempt to highlight something that must get attention of a few politicians all over the globe. I hope they get successful though. Yet again, I thought a “world” press photo exhibit would be a dash of everything where my attention would be drawn to how photos are made great :(

I was wrong… but I’m not complaining!

And when I was back home, I happened to have discovered that those same and exact pictures exhibited at the MOA are ALL displayed at their website hehehe! It’s this:

Hmm, I did not do some quick research well before I went there? How absurd of me!

Oh well… my world… is it any different than yours?


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