Público is a portuguese daily newspaper, the most leftist of all. Although having lost some of the quality articles it was known for, affected by the general crises of the media itself and the economy as well, it is still the newspaper I read, although now only in its online version.
A couple of days ago I came across Publico’s photographic best of, which consists of a set of 146 photographs that are presented as the best work from ‘their’ photojournalists throughout 2013. I was quite impressed with the lack of quality and kept thinking of a possible discussion about the subjetiveness within photography and how photojournalism is on a category of its own, precisely because of its objectivity. A photograph can be many things, but an image, within the news context is more of an illustration than anything else. It needs to gather some recognizable symbols in order to communicate.
Because this is the portuguese context, and it is a small one, I admit these symbols need only to be recognized by ‘us’, but still the visual component of the composition should be universal (with the limitations implied in our understanding of the concept of ‘universality’). If a photograph doesn’t add to the written word, it shouldn’t be there. It’s redundant and, as a reader, I find it to be an insult… A photograph, no matter what the context is, should strive for and because of its specificities and the specificities of the photographic medium have to do with the frame, the light and time, amongst other things. It may sound simplistic but it’s quite the opposite. These are three very important characteristics and a world of possibilities is opened by them.
From the set of images I’ve chosen a few I consider the best and the worst without further judgement. There’s always the possibility that some of these photographs just made it into the ‘best of’ slideshow because they illustrate an important moment in the events that took place last year but, nonetheless, a photograph should stand on its own, whether or not the communication implied made it to the receiver successfully.