Granted, the audience would not have been as happy to sit in silence in a cinema while hundreds of images (over several hours) flashed before their eyes, however so many song choices were clearly afterthoughts, some distracting from the quality of the work. For example, the work of John Moore was accompanied by an a cappella version of a Gypsy Kings song, while his photographs were taken in Pakistan at the rally where Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, the combination of which was just plain weird. Then there was a series of works by Sean Hobbs telling the story of Australians at War accompanied by an Oasis song, Oasis being the epitome of British pop and the song’s lyrics that have nothing to do with war, Australians or anything in between. There was a series of photographs by Matthew Abbott of street dwellers in Turkey, married with hard-core American Hip-Hop. And of course there were the many stereotypical world music selections to accompany the more exotic images. The relation between the music and the work often altered the interpretation, giving the viewer mixed messages surrounding the story or the intention of the photograph.
Besides the poor music choices the work presented was varied and covered a broad spectrum of local to international stories. With such a fine calibre of photographers and such a super-saturation of images it became difficult to distinguish the outstanding from the good. It was, however, easier to point out the obviously staged or contrived shots and in this type of setting the works that captivated were those with a really strong concept which were able to tell a story, such as exploring a certain character, as opposed to a series taken from an assigned event or from random travels.
By far, the work of Stefano De Luigi left the most lasting impression. De Luigi whose work covered the living conditions of blind people, travelled through developing countries working on this five-year project. The work mainly consisted of portraits of his subjects in their natural habitats, and the idea of taking photos of people who will never be able to view them, let along their own faces or their own world, seemed sadly ironic and almost cruel, but nevertheless emotive.
Both images © Stefano De Luigi/VII