Picture Stories Destroyed All Photography

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I don’t like picture stories. In fact I think picture stories destroyed all photography. You needed to have a close-up and you needed to do other things and for me I am interested in one picture that tells many different stories to different people. That is to me a sign of the good picture.

via Josef Koudelka: Formed by the World – NYTimes.com.

There Are 6 Comments On This Article.

  1. It’s fine if he doesn’t like them, but they’ve hardly ruined all photography. People like Duane Michals have added new and creative dimensions to photography with their “picture stories.”

  2. It is a bit hyperbolic but, Koudelka makes a good point, when interpreted at in a broader and more openminded sense.
    Could a Weegee exist today? is one question I would ask.

  3. “What above all must be challenged is the automatic overflow of images, their endless succession, which obliterates not only the mark of photography (le trait), the poignant detail of the object (its punctum), but also the very moment of the photo…Visual flows only know change. The image is no longer given the time to become an image.” – Baudrillard

    My belief is that the greatest danger to the photographer is the potential for an endless stream of images. Picture stories are part of that stream.

    • …and series. I don’t understand the impulse to turn everything into a series. It makes everything look like an art school assignment. Most of the time I look at somebody’s series and I see one good shot that’s been pointlessly repeated until the one good shot no longer seems interesting. I wish more photographers/viewers could just be happy with that one good shot.

      • I sometimes feel this way. It’s a tendency I call ‘project-ism’. I’m more forgiving of this now, though. Often, the less-impressive images in a series play a supporting role- and help to make sense of the stars.

  4. Couldn’t agree more. I want to scream every time I hear that a picture has to tell a story. Best part is that on the few occasions that I’ve asked for further explanation I am met with stuttering and incoherence. It is something that people seem to hear and then repeat without processing.

    Here is to mystery and ambiguity – give the viewer something to do.