Judges in Australia’s most prestigious photography contest have awarded top prize to a photo of a father holding his stillborn baby. The photo in question is the first photo above on the left.
Such a photo has never won before due to the controversial nature of the subject. The other photos above were also winners in various categories in the Head On Festival competition.
The video below provides more details about the award.
If the photo of the father and his baby was taken and entered in the competition without the father’s permission, then the photographer deserves severe castigation IMO, although the video makes it sound as though the family had agreed to the photo.
It is hard to imagine why a father would agree to publicize such a personally difficult moment, but who knows?
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Gil Meydan, the photographer who took the shot of the stillborn baby freely admits in the video that he sought impact rather than beauty in his shot, and he speaks in a rather matter of fact manner when discussing the stillborn child. That is because he is a medical photographer at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, so he is used to viewing scenes of stillborn babies.
Moshe Rosenzveig, the Head On Festival Director, concurs that beauty occupies a second place goal for the photography in his festival. He too emphasizes emotional intensity as the photographer’s primary objective when shooting the photos.
Perhaps it is just me, but the two men sound somewhat like a paparazzo does when he stalks a celebrity for that hot shot that will make him a bundle of money.
Should photographic art be judged on its shock value, for beauty or for some other attribute? IMO shock value simply for the shock it imparts to the viewer has little value at all. Once people are used to photos of stillborn babies photographers will be forced to rachet up the controversial nature of their photography in order to get noticed.
What comes next, photographic art of an abortion in progress?
Editor’s Note: This post was updated 7/14/15
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