Czech Press Photo Exhibit

We were just sitting around this morning and Helena suggested we go to the Czech Press Photo Exhibit, which is an annual thing. Prizes are awarded, I guess, I don’t know if there’s a cash award but it must be fairly prestigious, and large crowds go.
I went to a couple of them, earlier in my time in Prague, but I swore I’d never go to another one, probably about 10 years ago. First off, I don’t generally get photography as an art form. That’s me and my philistine limits more than it is a condemnation of the entire field. Photographers seem to agree on what is good photography, and seriously bad photography is pretty easy to spot, but if somebody takes a picture of something pretty – a flower, a sunset, a bunch of children playing – and their hand is reasonably steady, I’m satisfied that it’s a good photo.
I’m kind of the same with my tastes in food, music and movies. I don’t try to mentally reverse engineer the dish I am served, I’m almost never critical of a cook, and if a meal fills me up and doesn’t taste hideous, I’m satisfied. I enjoy music, but I really know nothing about it. When people say key of C or key of G, I have no idea what they are talking about as I have never been capable of distinguishing one from the other. Some people rave about the special effects and CGI in films, but those don’t even require me to ‘suspend disbelief.’ I just assume that filmmakers can make whatever they want to happen on film happen on film.
In short, I am not a very discerning person.
But, I figured it was a reason to get out of the house, something to do, so I agreed and we went.
It was as I remembered. Lots of photos of desperate refugees and other sad and depressing topics. Some of the nature stuff wasn’t bad. There was nothing in particular that I looked at and said “Wow! That makes the whole exhibit worthwhile.”
One interesting point, though. There were two first prizes: The International Jury Prize and The Children’s Prize. The adults, the professionals, chose a hideously crowded shot, all flags and signs and all that you really could tell was that a lot of people were protesting something. Bearing in mind my amateur status, and that nobody who loves photography should take my opinion seriously, it was crap.
The children chose a simple black and white, a forest of tall trees in the late afternoon light, with a bench near the bottom of the center and three people sitting there, silhouettes. I don’t know what the criteria of a great photo is, but it was certainly among the best there.
So, kids win. There was that, at least.


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