Defending Artistic Integrity

September 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A photographer returned 50,000 Euros in prize money stating her artistic integrity was compromised when she was no longer able to create work in line with her artistic vision. Titles of the project were changed, images edited, resulting in a project at odds with her initial creation. She felt the changes produced a cliched and coarse view of the country she was portraying. Here is the link if you are interested.  http://www.bjp-online.com/2014/09/2014-carmignac-gestion-photojournalism-award-controversy/

Such a thought provoking action! 

It reinforces that I must always consider what it means to remain true to my vision and keep this in my conscious mind. How many times have I heard,   "You should take a photo of this …(whatever that might be)" or my favourite "There should be some colour." or " I love this but you should have taken it in the winter."

Every time I hear these "helpful comments”, I have choices to make. I can bow to the pressure to follow someone else's vision or reaffirm my own ......or any of the options between these two extremes.

My art is created deliberately. It is not an accident and if one can allow the possibility, it is a statement of what is important to me as an artist. Only I have the experiences to see my life through my own eyes.  I don't expect my own artistic vision to match anyone else's-if it does, that can be exciting.

When an artist presents her work to the world, not for critique and professional growth, but  as a finished body of work, who has the right to say it isn't so?  Showing my photographs can stretch my skills and talents but it can involve artistic compromise. What is the price of participation for the sake of publicity? Is it necessary? Is it of any value? And if so, how does it serve me as an artist?

Because for every choice, there are consequences.

Newsha Tavakolian's courage and determination to remain true to her own vision are rare in today's world of shrinking boundaries and increased sense of entitlement. I feel her outrage in her action and in her statement to the world. And it forces me to re-examine my own artistic vision.


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Cory Stickley Photography

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