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World Press Photo 08 Southbank Centre, London Now on 08716632536 free admission

From:     Rodney Ward
Category: Art
Date:     17 November 2008
Time:     02:10 PM


Photography is everywhere all the time would'nt you agree? How many times I have seen a good photograph in a newspaper 
only to pause momentarily before plunging into the quite separate world of text. Sure The Independent set a certain standard  a 
while back and for all it's deluded ideas about the impartiality of right wing conservatism, the Telegraph does take a bit of pride 
in its photography but how often is the hapless reader lucky enough to find an Independent or  Telegraph lying around ? more 
likely after suffering the stench of some arse eating a burger on the train you will, in an effort to distract your gagging reactors in 
the epiglottal region, reach out only to pick up London Light, Metro, The Sun, The Star, The Times if you're truly cursed the 
Express and so on.
Like a lot of things, they are no longer what they originally set out to be.

The plain fact of the matter is that when a photographer is introduced to us, live or through some media, we tend to secretly 
consider ourselves equal to the title, digital camera phones abound, how someone convinces another to pay them seems an 
indulgence beyond belief, almost as absurd as paying someone to play football professionally, imagine that! 

Perspective is one of the four Vitruvian "laws" of drafting, scale, composition and proportion being the remaining three, I refer to 
the other meaning of perspective here, The World Press Photo 08 Exhibition at the Southbank Centre, London or check out, I attended quite unconsciously, I mean, I turned up there to hear some of the London Jazz Festival, 
there are quite a few free events, one of them a nordic youth jazz band - God thats a boring concept but the reality was totally 
brilliant - And once I had come to terms with the fact that the audience resembled a national trust property tea room, well I 
started to look around the (Queen Elizabeth) Hall and noticed an exhibition beside the auditorium. Fearing premature 
rigourmortis and at the same time realizing that I looked even more boring than the audience I was sneering at, I took a tour of 
the World Press Photo exhibition.
I think I was looking at a photograph of a man being blasted to shreds with a water cannon in Zimbabwe when I realized that I 
had stopped listening to the jazz, I had stopped listening and I had stopped fighting in that way that one does when two media 
vie for attention, this was photography - real photography, not the sort of indulgent shite put forth by Sam Taylor Wood and her 
nauseous pals, not the pathetic shots of flesh, tittilation faux prurience in the redtops, no this was Story telling and Theatre and 
Theres a lot of content and I'm afraid I do not have names or dates, hopefully thats all in the web link, I urge you to attend for 
several reasons, some of them mundane, like, you could take children there, you can buy cups of tea and cakes, there's 
bookshops, its free but its really for this one, quite large (hence my blather about newspaper photography), black and white 
photo, the picture is of a beautiful, almost magical location in a forest in Afghanistan, there are three very dignified men wearing 
turbans and tunics, they stand beside the large old tree trunks, cautiously they look towards an American soldier dressed in the 
distinctive nazi style helmet and camouflage, the picture is full of tensions, ambiguous stress-points, the beautiful place, the 
three traditionally dressed men, the soldier.......
The text tells us that "American Military Strategists"...have designated this place as a possible location for Al Quiada activity, 
and have decided to flush them out. Knowing what we learn, barely through media information about the totally inadiquate 
abilities of military strategists, we can see in this photograph the reality of this mindless nonsensical situation, looking at that 
photograph you felt present, and able to assess the madness, it's like walking on Boxhill in Surrey on a beautiful summers day 
and suddenly it all does'nt have to be Boxhill, it could be anywhere you least expect, you just know that those men in 
that place will never be the same, theres no time for judgement and the whole exhibition is full of these large photographs which 
tell us far more than any amount of news-readers, text or the smaller reproductions in the newspapers. So thats what 
photography is when its not being shown at The Photographers Gallery because one of Po Faced Martin Parrs exhibitions is 
sneering at the British Working Classes instead. oops,watabitch

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