We all might have experienced situations in classrooms, workshops, trainings, clubs or online platforms where we felt insecure about our opinion, artwork, knowledge or homework when asked to present it to the group. Nobody wants to be rejected or criticized badly in public. That’s the moment we might consider to present artwork, papers or opinions we think the others want to see and hear. The price we pay for that is our own identity and repressing our own creativity, strength and growth. Going with what the crowd expects might seem the easier way of doing things in the first place, but on the long run creativity will die and with it joy, satisfaction, motivation and success. It’s not an easy decision to make and the following example shows what a pressure can be put on the shoulders of a photographer and how one can also crumble under its weight.
The photographer Joe Klamar was asked to photograph portraits of the US Olympic Team and when his images went public a storm of negative criticism hit them and him. Yes, they do not look like adverts and one does not expect them to be in magazines, but would the reaction had been the same when the images would have been shown in a gallery exhibition? Maybe “we” expect to see advert like images when we read that there are portraits of the US Olympic Team and then we don’t see advert like images, but art. This can be experienced as controversial and his work definitely triggers something when looking at it, but is it not what art is supposed to do?
In the first place Joe Klamar responded to the criticism that he was not shooting a Nike ad. A few days later he explained that he had not the right equipment with him when he was asked to do the shoot and that would explain the image quality. Had the pressure piled up and did AFP, he is working for, ask him to give this statement?
His images unleashed a storm and one should ask why such a storm came up. Somebody choose his own way of photographing the subjects and his way was different from the usual. Then the “usual” hit back and wants to make sure that the one who dared to be different gets drawn back into the crowd.
Would Apple have become Apple by allowing this to happen? Dare to be different, think different and photograph different and find some inspiration here.
Ute Sonnenberg, www.rohoyachui.com