Last weekend, Holly and I went to the Reuters photo agency exhibit, Our World Now, at the Seoul Arts Center, a sprawling complex of buildings large enough to house the entire spectrum of visual and audio arts, or at least it seemed that way as we tried to find the exhibit and had to walk through and around several other grand buildings and a festival of some sort.
The presentation of the photographs was, for the most part, very plain, as seemed very appropriate considering the journalistic and documentary intent of the photos. This hall, with it’s riot of tightly-grouped photos organized by color, and then duplicated with mirror images of the originals on the opposite wall, was the lone exception. I suppose even journalists should have fun.
Seeing so many strong visual images – vibrant, somber, arresting, powerful, heart wrenching – reminded me so much of the hours and hours and hours (many hours, ok) I spent looking at many thousands of photographs at the Pictures of the Year judging, which is held every winter at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. I almost failed J105, a class on news writing according to the supposedly logical and consistent Associated Press Stylebook, but which I found anything but. I apologize again to Bob Sullivan, my J105 teacher, who really didn’t want to flunk me, who recognized I wasn’t sitting at home drunk or stoned or whatever, but was absorbing the terrible beauty, responsibility, and gravity of photojournalism, one moment at a time.