٠ The epidemic of the ‘best of’ ٠

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.

478649© Enric Vives-Rubio, PPC and ACS at Champalimaud Foundation

asm m soares 1 250913© Adriano Miranda, Mário Soares in João Ataíde’s campaign

ASM PAULO PORTAS16© Adriano Miranda, Paulo Portas, supporting candidate Paulo Caiado

478650© Enric Vives-Rubio, António José Seguro, lider of the Sociualist party, voting

dro cavaco 190613© Daniel Rocha, ACS and his wife planting a tree.

nfs manif 20 020313© Nuno Ferreira Santos, protest against troika and the government, March 2nd.

478839© Paulo Pimenta, protest against the shutdown of the shipbuilding industry in Viana do Castelo.

14 Agosto 2013 - Joana Bourgard - Macaco no teleferico de Gibraltar© Joana Bourgard, a sky lift in Gibraltar.

478720© Miguel Madeira, festivities in celebration of God’s Holy Spirit, Açores

lm portugueses 53 080213© Miguel Manso, portrait of Isabel Ferreira, 30 years old, single mother.

PP - 12 ABRIL 2013 - PORTO - DEMOLICAO TORRE 4 BAIRRO DO ALEIXO© Paulo Pimenta, Bairro do Aleixo (Tower 4) imploding, Porto.

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