I received a promotional ad in the mail yesterday from Pratt Institute with this picture on the front. The brochure lists the 21 different art related subjects that one might study while at Pratt. It is curious, but obvious, why they want to prominently promote photography. The fact that they put a photographer on the cover speaks to photography's continuing popularity as a field of study and, most of all, as a profit center for schools and universities. Even today with the present day glut of photographers and the current photography/media economy in a tailspin. I would never encourage anyone to not make photographs or to not pursue their interest in photography. But clearly if 80 % of the photographers in the world hung up their cameras today there would still be more than enough photographers and photographs to fill all the museums, galleries, books, magazines and newspapers in the world. Twice over. Of course it is not in the interest of schools to acknowledge this. But what really bothered me about this picture was the fact that the "photographer" is wearing her sunglasses! I'm reminded of the scene in the movie 'Sideways' where two friends are at a wine tasting and one of them, much to the other's dismay, is hilariously chewing gum while tasting wine. Good photographs have always had the ability to teach us how we might better see and understand the world. My advice to Pratt, and all the other schools selling photography, is to take off the sunglasses.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Posted by Evan Sklar at 5:34 AM