Friday, February 11, 2011

Should Google Get the Photojournalism Prize?

PHOTOGRAPHER MICHAEL WOLF recently received an honorable mention award from the World Press Photo competition. His winning entry was titled, "A series of unfortunate events."

Each of the 12 images in the collection (including the image above) are photographs that Wolf shot while aiming his camera at his computer screen while browsing Google Street View images.

Does Wolf deserve recognition for this work? Or should Google claim credit and the photojournalism prize?

Many people, by the way, are finding striking images created by the Google cameras roaming the streets. Does that make them artists?

17 comments:

Sarah Mariano said...

No. Google is a search engine that links things together. It doesn't actually go out and report anything.

Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

Google should not receive credit for this work, because the company did not actually go out and shoot these pictures. I'm not sure if I read this correctly, but I don't think that Wolf should get credit for taking pictures of other people's photos.

Geo said...

Google created the images with their automated camera that is attached to an automobile, which drives up and down every street, shooting 360 degree images.

- George
(the teacher who saw the Google cam go by one time but still hasn't found himself on Google Street View).

Richard Molinaro said...

I Don't believe there is anyway Michael Wolf should win any type of award for taking pictures ofsomething that is already photographed and placed on his computer screen. Isn't this a form a plagiarism? I rather give it to someone's original work even if it isn't as well shot.

Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

Well, in that case, Google deserves recognition. As Richard said, Wolf kind of committed a form a plagiarism.

Michael Wojcik said...

I think Wolf should be recognized for this work. Though the photographs were taken by Google, Wolf seems to be the first guy that I know of to do anything like this. I guess I feel that if he was the one to compile the photos together and make this winning entry, then he deserves it. I however do not think anyone else after him who does this should be called an artist.

Alysse Pujol said...

I believe that Google shouldn't take the prize or credit for the pictures because it is only a street view. Street View is just ongoing footage of the street but the person that took the pictures is an artist looking for inspiration, actually searching for art and something to photograph. Street View can basically be considered the same as the photographer going out to the streets looking to photograph except they just don't have to get up and leave their home. The Google Street View is just their eye to see through.

Chalie Robinson said...

I believe that Wolf should get the credit for the photographs because he had to sift through the multiple Google street view pictures. Google is a search engine who cannot take credit for something like this. Google wasn't taking these pictures for this purpose, but just to aid their mapping process. Wolf, on the other hand, was looking through these collection of images and selected the ones he wanted.

Paki said...

I'm not sure of dates, but I've seen many collections of funny, etc. pictures from Google Street since it first came out. So, by my understanding, Wolf is not only plagiarizing, but he is also unoriginal.

Unless the award was for the best collection of photos taken by someone (or something) else, I don't think he deserves any sort of recognition.

Jaimie Gill said...

I don't believe either should receive and award for these photos. Wolf just apparently has a lot of time on his hands to filter through all the images on Google. The only effort he put in was to choose which images he wanted that someone else captured. Going back to a previous comment Google shouldn't receive recognition either because it is only a street view.

Tori said...
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Tori said...

Art is all about intention- if Michael Wolf was searching through the Google images aiming to find/create/cultivate art, then that's pretty much all it takes to classify something as art. It's sad, but if a solid blue canvas can hang in MOMA I don't see why this couldn't be considered "art". As for whether or not the public accepts it as art, that's an individual call, the same way that it is when critics argue over the value of any piece. If the images become photojournalism only when Michael Wolf uses them as such, then Google can't take credit. In such a strange and blurry situation, it has to come down to who put the intention for it to be photojournalism out there, which in this case was Wolf.

Kelly Guinan said...

Wolf is the one who goes out in search of these pictures. Google just has them on the internet, but they don't recognize the aesthetic worth of each individual image captures from the satellites. Consider the artist who goes around filling potholes with flowers: the city supplies the potholes, stores supply the flower arrangement, and he does his thing to make it his own: planting little gardens in otherwise unsightly holes. Wolf does something similar: focuses on a mundane, expansive thing and brings up the unique images in a smaller library for us to view and interpret. His subjectivity comes into play, why he chooses certain images and why not, and Google's images become his own. He deserves the credit.

Sarah D'Agostino said...

Google cameras don't choose to take pictures of specific events, it's inevitable when capturing 360 view of streets around the world. Regardless of how Wolf captured the picture, he chose to take this specific event and turn it into art. Agreeing with most of you on this one, Wolf deserves the credit.

Rachel said...
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Rachel said...

I think Wolf deserves credit for the photos. Google did not create this application to capture striking images and is not using it for that purpose. If someone chooses to find images that can illuminate certain aspects of society and convey messages, there is no reason they shouldn't do so. While I think it would be a better experience for the photographer to go out and live in the world he is capturing, it is the age of technology and things are changing. If he can capture worthy images (which they must be if they received an honorable mention)that people might miss out on otherwise, I think it is a good thing. This reminds me of a poet named Kenny Goldsmith we are reading in one of my other classes. He got transcripts from the radio talking about sports, weather, and traffic and reproduced it verbatim on paper. He calls it "uncreative writing." Does that make him an artist? Is it plagiarism?

-Rachel Tucker

Laura Robb said...

no on should win any award for this.