PetaPixel

Photog Receives World Press Photo Honorable Mention for Street View Shots

Does Google Street View count as photojournalism? That’s the question that’s being discussed on the Interwebs after photographer Michael Wolf was given honorable mention in this year’s World Press Photo contest for a series of photographs made using Google’s Street View. “A Series of Unfortunate Events” contains photographs created by Wolf of unique scenes found in Google’s street imagery, which is captured by Google using special camera-equipped vans driven down streets.

Wolf has been working with Google Street View for the past year, and doesn’t simply take digital screenshots but actually creates photos. He tells BJP:

I use a tripod and mount the camera, photographing a virtual reality that I see on the screen. It’s a real file that I have, I’m not taking a screenshot. I put the camera forward and do an exact crop, and that’s what makes it my picture. It doesn’t belong to Google, because I’m interpreting Google; I’m appropriating Google. If you look at the history of art, there’s a long history of appropriation. [#]

Do you think Wolf’s Street View images deserved honorable mention? Thoughts?

(via BJP)


 
  • Terzei

    This is pathetic.

  • Lewista

    I crop therefore I am.

  • http://twitter.com/keatonandrew Keaton Andrew

    I like the concept and the series.

    However, I disagree with his statement that he’s simply interpreting google.

    Okay, let me go to an art gallery, photograph a portion of someone’s work of art… oh, now I’ll print just that cropped portion of it as my interpretation and submit it for something. I swear, I was interpreting someone else; it’s completely my own work…

  • MStirewalt

    Sorry, a screen cap using a digital camera is still a screen cap no matter how good your cropping skills are.

  • http://www.skaffari.fi M Skaffari

    World Press Photo just lost a lot of points in my eyes. But next year I will be sending in my interpretation of this years winners. You might not even see the difference!

    Congratulations to Michael for awesome work!

  • clm

    I think the guy driving the google truck is more of a photographer than this guy, it doesn’t even take ANY skill or knowledge of photography, besides leveling the tripod- oh
    wait he crops

  • Parkylondon

    I think it’s art that appropriates not photography. This isn’t art.
    I do say “fair play” to him for the idea – it’s not something I would have thought of doing. Having said that it’s not something I would do.

  • Trevor Collens

    I’m going to set up my TV and photograph footage of the JFK assaination, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Atom bomb exploding over Hiroshima, 911, and any other significant event, so I can have them in my portfolio and call them my own work.
    Man, I’m going to be the greatest photojournalist ever!

  • http://twitter.com/jnskyliner34 Justin Javellana

    don’t forget the dinosaurs!

  • Bill

    Might as well put a camera in front of a TV and just let it rip. By the time next year’s World Press Photo awards come ’round, I’m bound to have captured something on the tube that should be a winning submission!

    From a technicality perspective, it may be a compelling image and hence an award winner. But from an ethical perspective in terms of keeping within the true spirit of photography, the Wolf is not deserving of the award.

    It’s obvious as to why it should raised such ire amongst the real photographers who actually get out there and earn their shots with imagination, patience, time & energy.

  • http://www.blogcatalog.com/blogs/gatehouse-academy-blog Gatehouse Academy Review

    World Press Photo just lost a lot of points in my eyes. But next year I will be sending in my interpretation of this years winners. You might not even see the difference!

    Congratulations to Michael for awesome work

  • Flickr Man

    I am going to buy a book of Henri Cartier Bresson. I will use a tripod and mount the camera, photograph his pictures that I see in the book. I will put the camera forward and do an exact crop, and that’s what will make it my picture. It wont belong to Mr.Bresson, because I’m interpreting Mr.Bresson; I’m appropriating Mr.Bresson. If you look at the history of art, there’s a long history of appropriation.

  • Frank

    If I take a shot of just the face of the Mona Lisa, that’s like saying it’s mine according tintype schmuck.

    This is the photo equivalent to sampling, except in reverse, and worse. In audio sampling, someone tales a piece of someone elses work, puts it together with either more of someone else, or some of their own, an in a way that does actually interpret, and create something unique. You still need permission, to pay for it, and to give credit for all that however. This is as if someone pulled the bass beat out of ‘Thriller’, and just that, not adding anything, and said it was yours for interpreting Michael Jackson. Explaining some convoluted manner in which you isolated the beat to use it..doesn’t change what you did. Hack. -f

  • http://www.casagli.com Alessandro Casagli

    what a loser.

  • Jacqui

    The concept is interesting. He’s found images within images, and is using the power of google’s ‘be anywhere’ maps system, to create image that would normally not be able to be taken.
    But at the end of the day. Let’s be honest. He’s taking screen shots using his camera. Surely he could equally justify doing the process on a mac and cropping in screen. At least the image would be clearer.

  • http://www.weddingfavourskingdom.co.uk/ Annegwells

    I think the shots are amazing.

  • http://www.dinnerwarecenter.com/ Martincspencer

    Good concept. Bad way.

  • Photojournalism

    Bullshit, this is a fake photographer and a jury with some business. Is impossible to believe.

  • br

    all he’s doing is spending god knows how many hours searching google street view and cropping the image… this is not photography.

  • http://petcarerxcomplaints.com/ PetCareRx Complaints

    It wont belong to Mr.Bresson, because I’m interpreting Mr.Bresson; I’m appropriating Mr.Bresson.

  • http://www.bmcassociates.com/articles/news_iw19980914.html Mychael Margott

    From a technicality perspective, it may be a compelling image and hence an award winner. But from an ethical perspective in terms of keeping within the true spirit of photography, the Wolf is not deserving of the award.

  • http://www.toyotapartscenter.net/ Toyota Accessories

    This is as if someone pulled the bass beat out of ‘Thriller’, and just that, not adding anything, and said it was yours for interpreting Michael Jackson.Thanks

  • http://www.irstaxlawyers.org California Tax Lawyers

    It may be a compelling image and hence an award winner. But from an ethical perspective in terms of keeping within the true spirit of photography, the Wolf is not deserving of the award.

  • Stephen Davies

    My initial reaction was negative, but after going to his site and reviewing the portfolios, I have a different take.
    No.1 – No way is this photojournalism – World Press Photo ought to be ashamed for rewarding it as such.
    No.2 – However, it is photography – I would class it as art photography.
    The photographer is taking elements in his environment – in this case Google Street View footage – and creating images with it.
    If you look at GSV raw footage, it is general, dumb and massively voluminous.
    There is no intelligence, artistic or otherwise, behind the raw footage.
    He is not appropriating another artist’s work (like the Marlboro Man guy infamously did) – he is extracting specific images from infinite generic possibilities.
    Some comment that he just “crops” – well, cropping, either in camera or after, is one of the key components of the photographic art.
    When you decide what to put the frame around in your viewfinder, you are cropping – it is the essence of photography.
    One thing he is not doing is timing – that is decided by pure chance when the camera car rolls down the street. But introducing the element of chance doesn’t preclude it from being art.
    I do have a problem with his technique – it seems quite sloppy to me.
    I don’t think that he takes them with a camera as opposed to a screenshot amounts to a hill of beans.
    While he does manage to find and extract some strong and interesting images, the processing of them is poor. I would like to see more done with color, contrast, saturation, etc.
    But perhaps the washed out grainy look is an artistic decision on his part – not a good one, in my opinion.
    I enjoyed his “street” portfolios (they could use some editing down).
    It is art.
    It isn’t photojournalism.
    So there.

  • ‘VilleGuy

    I wouldn’t call him a loser. I do not consider his “work” relevant.

  • ‘VilleGuy

    Were he taking shots of television shows, cropped or not, you can be he’d be getting threats of lawsuits from tons of network lawyers!

  • ‘VilleGuy

    Love your sarcasm. Bet the network news lawyers wouldn’t be calling you a photojournalist ;-)

  • ‘VilleGuy

    He’s actually creating a derivative work, which violates Googles copyright.