The Photograph

“What is it? A fly?” Asks one voice.

“No, it’s got to be a bird.” Replies another.

“I’d say it’s just a smudge.” Comes a third voice from across the board-room table. There’s a gathering in the conference room at the headquarters of the National Photographic Society.

“The guy obviously can’t use his camera properly.”

“No, that’s not right. He’s mastered his craft and he’s expressing himself in a way we can’t understand.”

Ten professional photographers are gathered and they’re all chiming in to decide which submission will take out the top prize.

“Have you ever heard of Picasso?” Of course they’ve all heard of Picasso. Half of them have written scholarly articles about Picasso! “Well, Picasso mastered the brush before he started to deconstruct the world around him. This photographer has mastered the lens.”

Someone across the room agreed, “yes! How many times have you heard someone say ‘my five-year-old is better than Picasso’? They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Another voice interjects “my five-year-old is better than this photographer!”

After much deliberation it was decided, unanimously, that the photo deserved the award. It was an example of deconstructivism. There were undertones of post-modernist thought. There was a hint of classical proportion in its composition. The difference in movement between visual elements added dynamism and contrast. The figure was rooted to the dynamic plane and the viewer to the ground plane. Even those who had been doubtful changed their tune, calling it a masterpiece. Before the award could be granted, the photographer would have to be interviewed. What prompted the creation of this marvel?

The photographer received a phone call. The National Photographic Society posed their question. The photographer responded:

“Oh, I sent you the wrong photo. That was the one I stuffed up.”

T.

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