Opinions matter .... Kinda ....

May 16, 2019

The Photo accompanying this little bit of irrelevant meanderings was submitted into a photography competition … It lost.

 

This made me angry.

 

Not that I did not win as that would have been highly egotistical and as it was taken a good few years ago I knew little about photography and was only shooting with a little compact camera. It was way before the days that I knew the salmon I was about to eat last night was paid for by taking some photos of a shop.

 

It made me angry as the photo that won was identical except is was off to an angle and featured no person in it. It had also been taken by someone who had seen me take it and decided to take the same shot. I was vexed.

 

It was the judge’s decision that the angle suited the shot better and I disagreed most strongly.

 

Looking back on it now I can see the obvious flaws but I still am of the opinion I got the better shot.

 

We are all entitled to have our own opinion and I am fine with that (Although I should have still won obviously and the judge’s decision was well wrong and biased …. ) but that opinion needs to be decided on facts when it matters.

 

The BBC released a documentary a few years ago explaining how Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman and sole perpetrator of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It explained how the bullet trajectory worked and sough in a condescending way to put silence to the conspiracy nuts.

 

“Ah hah” I am sure many people said “The conspiracy theory has finally been shattered”

 

Except I know enough about the Kennedy assassination to recognise that their explanation required ignoring many recorded facts as to how events unfolded. I am talking well witnessed and recorded facts. The BBC had presented a case that anyone unfamiliar with the details would take as facts and base an opinion based on such evidence … Evidence which had to be distorted to prove their case.

 

And don’t even get me started on the crime writer Patricia Cornwell and her ludicrous book claiming to have unmasked Jack the Ripper.

 

Generally speaking changing peoples opinions is hard unless you have a suitable platform to do so. Given a loud enough voice you can start quoting “Facts” and peoples opinions can shift. This does not happen in an argument between two ordinary people having coffee. The situation becomes heated and no one can change a side until some media channel tells them how they should be thinking.

 

I am experiencing that in Sheffield where two action groups are trying to prevent the Spearmint Rhino lap dancing club renewing its licence. The media has given them a loud voice and their ludicrous claims (Incites incest was my particular favourite) are being given air time.

 

I will as always invite people to do their research before they come to an opinion.

 

Photography although is far more subjective when it comes to opinions and I am making opinions about other peoples work as well as my own every single day. I have not taken a Great (note the capital G) photo but I have taken a few decent ones in my (flexibly) modest opinion.

 

And if I am honest that is how I judge a lot of other photographers as in terrible, basic, decent and great. I am literally that broad in my approach. Terrible is self explanatory, basic is for those just starting or who have never progressed, decent have a solid body of work and can be trusted enough to employ and the Great are an illustrious elite who pantheon I can only dream of achieving.

 

Looking back on that shot from the competition though I conclude I very early on recognised something about the shot that cemented my opinion and that was the difference between the two. My shot had a human being in it.

 

At a time before I had even started really doing street photography, before I even thought it would be a wage earner I had subconsciously decided that I needed people in my photos to really make me happy with them.

 

So in my questionably humble opinion I should have won, the case against Lee Harvey Oswald is unproved, all copies of Patricia Cornwell’s Jack the Ripper book should be moved to the fiction section.

 

And Spearmint Rhino should have its licence renewed.

 

Yours with love

 

Chris

 

 

 

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