New York Photo Festival: “2.0” (aka Nothing wrong with 1.0 really)


General Photography

It’s really just a coincidence that the man in this photo is holding his head while walking through Tim Barber’s “Various Photographs”. I could not have staged it any better, though. I think “Various Photographs” might be the worst photography show I have ever seen; and from what various photographer friends told me, there are lots of people who share this sentiment (see, for example, Robert’s post).

It completely escapes me how slapping together photography by 160 photographers (!) can be called “curating”, even though I might be missing something, because, after all, we are being told it’s “curating 2.0”. But then, the “2.0” reminds me of what people were talking about in the not-so-distant past, when the internet bubble was taken as a sign of a “new economy”, where the old rules of how to make money were not supposed to be valid any longer. Except, of course, that they were extremely valid, and tons of people lost their money. Boy, we had a good laugh about that one, didn’t we?

So the “2.0” might just be another case of marketing, and as is so often the case in the world of business, marketing and reality can be very distinct entities, especially since it’s very hard to see why one would want to improve “curating 1.0”. What’s wrong with it? Nothing really - as the other three shows of the Festival (more on those tomorrow) effortlessly made clear.

There was talk that presenting the many photos in a row, one after the other, instead of having some sort of big grid, would have really shown what Tim was after. Sure, that’s possible, even though I think it’s extremely unlikely, especially since Tim failed to give people at least a vague idea what he was after both in his “statement” and during the panel discussion on “Curating 2.0”.

Of course, one could possibly dismiss this post as “elitist” - as is now so popular. And it would actually be quite interesting to dissect the idea of “democratic photography” that is being touted so often these days (and of supposed “elitism” in art) - I’ll leave that for a future post.