Contest Winners Prove Point With Staged Photos

Photo by Guillaume Chauvin

Two students at a Strasbourg arts university had the brilliant idea to document student poverty for Paris Match’s annual Grand Prix photo contest. Turns out their essay, depicting such raw images as students foraging for food in the trash and a female student forced into the sex trade, was exactly what the judges were looking for. They won the contest and then promptly admitted the photos were staged.

Guillaume Chauvin and Remi Hubert said the photos were meant to be a “powerful artistic gesture” aimed at a complacent and voyeuristic media. The pair thought their work was so hackneyed they’d never win.    

So, to break it down, to prove how cliched photography has become they staged an incredibly cliched photo essay – and won. Wow.

Paris Match, which has considerable egg (or should I say ouef) on its face now, rescinded the equivalent of $5,000 in prize money and gave it to the winners’ school instead. Additionally, the magazine announced it would be increasing the cash prize to $10,000 next year because of the incident. (How that addresses the problem, I’m not so sure.)

While definitely an interesting move on the part of the students, the gesture would have presumably had no impact had they not won. So it’s lucky they won…right?

See the photos here.

Article via The Independent and British Journal of Photography

3 Responses to “Contest Winners Prove Point With Staged Photos”

  1. 1 Roger Krueger July 15, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I think it was brilliant… a point far more in need of making than the obvious “students are poor” anyway.

    But for future reference, the correct procedural order is 1) Cash check 2) Humiliate sponsor.

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