Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Revy View Post
I find the "photographer's being exploitative" a tired argument. Are you suggesting that they should not have made these photographs? Can photographers ever approach a difficult or sensitive subject matter without being accused of exploiting it?

And, really, aren't we always exploiting what we photograph? Including the landscape?

If you find these photographs banal... why?
Thanks for the thread Suzanne. I agree that it is far to easy to simply say a photographer is being exploitive then to investigate and engage his work.

Here are a few thoughts.

I don't know about Gedney's background but Adams grew up in Appalachia and knows the people, the culture and the history. As far as the poverty, these folks have been exploited by the government and corporations for generations as cheap expendable labor and cannon fodder for the military. But poverty is relative. I know families who live in $500,000 homes with professional careers who live the most vacant and banal existences you could imagine. All their money and college degrees do not keep their marriages together or keep their kids out of trouble.

I don't know if a late model pickup truck would be a mis-placed priority. Appalachia is rugged country with poor roads. Most of the folks Adams photograph either farm, have jobs or do both. You have to have transprotation and a pickup is the best tool in that area.

While poverty is always present in Adams images, there is also present a sense of family and community, especially when his work is viewed as a whole.

Gedney's work can easily be seen as that of an outsider. Knowing Adams, background it is easy to see how he is able to get such intimate portraits. I like Adams photographs simply because they are "richer" in information. The subjects in his images look directly into the lens, and thus force you to engage their gaze for a few moments.