jonathan pearlman

jonathan pearlman

FINE ART Photography


I'm in awe of 'reality' tv. Just when you think there is little left to discover about first world humanity, along comes another programme which drastically alters ones perceptions. Or enhances them; or destroys them. Cooking, I think, is the main ingredient to reality tv; add wealth and glamour (life unattainable, like a 'soap' but more 'real') add a soupcon of building dreams and slop over a bucket of real estate jus to bring it all together. Et voila (that’s yer actual french).

I briefly watched a photography programme (as opposed to a programme about photography) the other night and it bored me witless. I didn't quite catch the theme, but gather that a guru of sorts handed a photographic project to a couple of budding magnum types and then evaluated their work on two massive flat screen tvs which was filmed by a tv crew and the resultant edited effort made it onto my flat screen tv. And I was so bored, I found myself counting my cat's teeth.

This (the programme not the cat's teeth) reminded me of two other entries into the world of 'reality' tv by photography. One, from the UK, was a concept built around a stripped back version of Masterchef and I hated every last second of it. The other, from ABC in Australia was based around a photography competition for amateurs. And I hated every last second of it. No teeth counting here, just plenty of teeth gnashing. 

But why? Am I a photographic snob or, worse, elitist? Perhaps insecure about my own art that I worry about how good other photographers can be and who get lauded on reality tv and, ipso facto, why not me? Or perhaps there is this nascent understanding about what can and what can't work in 'reality' tv land. Dumbing down photography maybe? Or more pertinent, in my view, is that the medium of photography does not translate itself inside the medium of television, and specifically 'reality' television. 

Better yet, why not make a programme about a bunch of famous photographers discussing their most treasured image they never actually photographed? Now, that would truly be the most unreal of reality tv to get my cat's teeth into.

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