Monday, October 17, 2005

Work and Rejection

I just bought the Nov/Dec 2005 issue of American Photographer. I think that this is a very important issue in that it highlights five very important photo essays that have not been published in the U.S. It also highlights stories of rejection by some of the great photographers like Mary Ellen Mark. In a world consumed with success and celebrity stories, this issue of American Photographer reminds us that there are stories that are worth out time and attention even though they are not pleasant.

The photo essays that have not been published are as follows
1. A story on the Ku Klux Klan by James Edwards Bates
2. A story on the Beslan School siege by Dmitri Beliakov
3. A story on women in the Arab world by Alexadra Boulat
4. A story of a soldier who went to Iraq and returned wounded by Lucian Read
5. A story on the plight of the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Marcus Bleasdale.

There are many reasons why good stories are not being published. One reason is that publications are commercial and the editors, concerned with the bottom line, want to publish more stories on celebrities. Sometimes stories are also rejected because of the current political powers do not like the negative impact of some of the stories.

Is too much emphasis being placed on appearing happy and perfect? Should the public be spared stories of death in some far off state in Africa? I have also heard an aversion to some of my own photographs of perfectly happy seniors. Nothing wrong but some Singaporeans find images of 'old' people hard to take.

Sometimes it seems that the industrialized world is only geared for the successful, virile, yuppie consumer. The young, the old and those unfortunate enough to live in a country with an unpronounceable name be damned.

We have to start looking at how we live our lives and how our existence impacts on the rest of the world. We cannot just buy our designer goods and just trust that the powers that be will do the right thing. The world can only start to get better when all of us get involved and make our decisions count.

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