Previous news story    Next news story

Photographer explains controversial Team USA Olympic Portraits

By dpreview staff on Jul 6, 2012 at 23:00 GMT

Photographer Joe Klamar's portraits of US Olympic atheletes have caused a lot of controversy this week, especially in the USA. Reaction to the shots, taken for French photo agency AFP, has been varied, with many commentors dismissing his images as unprofessional at best, and at worst unpatriotic. Others have defended Klamar, arguing that his apparently unpolished images represent a deliberate attempt to challenge the conventions of portrait photography. The truth, it turns out, is more mundane. It seems Klamar was simply caught unprepared.

According to Klamar, 'I was under the impression that I was going to be photographing athletes on a stage or during press conference where I would take their headshots for our archives [and] I really had no idea that there would be a possibility for setting up a studio'.

Trey Hardee of Team USA, photograph by Joe Klamar for AFP

Responding to the negative reaction of some commentors to his work, Klamar has insisted that 'my only goal was to show [the athletes] as interesting, as special people who deserve their fame because they are the best [at] what they do. And for the little time we had together, they were willing to work with my concepts'.

Klamar certainly isn't the first photographer to turn up to a job only to find it wasn't the kind of job he thought it was, so what do you think - did he make the best of a difficult situation, or did he just mess up? What would you have done?

via Petapixel.com

Comments

Total comments: 437
1234
epo001
By epo001 (Jul 7, 2012)

Unpatriotic eh? Idiots.

1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Jul 7, 2012)

It really depends on who the photographer is.
If the photographer is well known, than "OK, creative, unconventional portraits! bravo!"
If the photographer is an intern or newbie, than "NEVER LET ME SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN, YOU ARE BLACKLISTED"

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 7, 2012)

That's right too.

0 upvotes
febphoto
By febphoto (Jul 7, 2012)

Very unpatriotic photography, must be an Iranian subversive cell. I like the photos with the flag most, specially the swim guys with the massive six packs, especially since I am working hard on getting one myself, but maybe I am also an Iranian subversive cell or North Korean spy.
But to be serious, the result of this photo session, improvised and all, is average. He knows what he is doing, but the situation is not right.
I also wonder what patriotic photography would look like. Unpatriotic images...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 7, 2012)

About "patriotic images": do we talk here of art/sport/information or of politic propaganda like in a sovietic state ?

0 upvotes
Jurriaan Schalken
By Jurriaan Schalken (Jul 7, 2012)

Does the image of flagbearing/waving muscled heroes still work for people?

I know nationalism and patriotism are important aspects of american life, but images like that always remind me of... North Korea. NOW i don't say the countries are alike, no way! Even though The Netherlands and Europe are seen as socialist by many US people/media, when you look at how the country represents itself visually, the US behaves like a communist country (not in terms of ideology, McCarthy's brainwash is still very present).

The way sports heroes are represented as hollow non human nationalist bots with a flag seem very similar (and devoid of humanity) to me.

So, athletes that look human, have a sense of humour AND are the best in their olympic field, is thought provoking and interesting (to me).

Nationalism only works if it's reinforced again and again, and it needs a lot of repetition, to reinforce, what is essentially, a form of ideological brainwashing. Whatever that ideology may be.

3 upvotes
Matt
By Matt (Jul 7, 2012)

This is NOT about nationalism. Regardless of the country, the respect due to all athletes competing at the highest level is to provide work that is worthy of their efforts spent getting to the Olympics. What they got was a cheapened shell by a misguided and ill prepared so called professional photographer. Nothing but a slap on the face of the athletes and the what the entire Olympic process stands for.

2 upvotes
Jurriaan Schalken
By Jurriaan Schalken (Jul 7, 2012)

I understand but the discussion to me was about the responses of the photos not being 'patriotic' enough.

I understand fully if people consider the photos unprofessional, and not worthy of the athletes.

Are the athletes themselves dissapointed? That would be the criterium for me. I have the utmost repect for athletes, not so much the way they are portrayed, they can be a used as vehicle for ideology, in stead of sports.

When most people scream, it's not 'patriotic' enough, I feel a stronge urge to deconstruct humanities desire to want to believe they live in the greatest country ever. It makes me allergic, and is potentially dangerous I believe (and the harder people need to tell themselves they live in a great country, the harder it is probably needed to tell yourself that ;-).

(update: corrected some spelling)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jul 7, 2012)

Socialism only works if it's reinforced again and again, and it needs a lot of repetition, to reinforce, what is essentially, a form of ideological brainwashing. Whatever that ideology may be.

Kinda works both ways, but I fail to see the connection with this photo shoot.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
1 upvote
MGJA
By MGJA (Jul 7, 2012)

@Jurriaan Schalken

American nationalism is different from European. It centers around common ideals, symbolized by the flag, not around a common set of genetic markers and ethnic identity. Whenever an European complains about US flag waving, your should consider that your equivalent is your skin color. Which the ever increasing masses of desperate immigrants living in ever more violent ghettos who hold European passports but will never be considered countrymen by their native neighbors can attest...

On the balance, I'll think I'll go with the flag waving, myself.

1 upvote
Shengji
By Shengji (Jul 7, 2012)

As a European, I can say that you are not correct about genetic markers and skin colour. Here in Europe we tend to reject communities who do not follow a way of life familiar to us. For example, an Italian living in France is much more likely to be accepted than a Romanian living in the same place. Why? Because the Italian and French lifestyles are much more similar. Most French people would not be able to easily tell just from looks which is which as both countries share similar genetic features and skin colours.

I'm not claiming this is somehow OK, far from it, but I don't believe the USA is any different. How do you treat inhabitants of Chinatown in your cities? Probably much the same as the French treat the Romanian from my example - tolerance, interest, polite acceptance but never thought of as a fellow countryman. Hence the very existence of China towns.

Also, violent ghettos are not something easy to find in Europe, unlike my last trip to the south side of Chicago.

0 upvotes
Jurriaan Schalken
By Jurriaan Schalken (Jul 7, 2012)

thanks for the replies, and I see also, that my 'allergy' to flag waving comes my own cultural indoctrination: which is the fear of something like 1939-45, which has molded european thinking very much.

I believe that all kinds of flagwaving, if done without the possibility of criticism, can eventually lead to mindless people following a flag into anything. The US is not that, I know, but I felt that the potential is there in any strong flag waving country.

And it appears my own country is getting more nationalistic as well.

Probaby a global trend because of lack of identity and the crisis.
But they way people perceive a country, and how it is portrayed in photographs (or their heroes), is an essential part of any culture so I was intrigued to see this 'departure', and it's discussion.

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Jul 7, 2012)

I simply do not see why those portrait can be anything bad. OK , so if the team or the PR guy / Art Director want real formal portrait, then they have the liberty to inform the photographer before the session. Now given that they allow that and the athletes willing to show their lighter side, then why not ...

Do know, this is not the photographer's own and its not all his. So, if the team find it perfectly fine to release these shoot as representing them. what are we to voice against it. Its their portrait not ours.

0 upvotes
slackr2211
By slackr2211 (Jul 7, 2012)

There are a million photographers chomping at the bit to get that kind of access to a shoot of olympians, I think it is truly sad that he came unprepared and rights it off as not that big of a deal. He has great work on his site (of athletes in their element) but if you can't shoot in a studio then don't take the job!

2 upvotes
Hofstee
By Hofstee (Jul 7, 2012)

Congrats you didn't read the article.

0 upvotes
Essai
By Essai (Jul 7, 2012)

terrible even for an high school yearbook.

5 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Jul 7, 2012)

oh, you haven't seen many yearbooks then...

2 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (Jul 7, 2012)

Really good and funny pictures.

0 upvotes
Freneticburn
By Freneticburn (Jul 7, 2012)

At first I thought maybe people were exaggerating but that is pretty bad. I'm all for experimenting and trying new things but do that on your own time and dime. I wouldn't say it's terrible but unprofessional is a fair description of that gallery.

2 upvotes
Jim Salvas
By Jim Salvas (Jul 7, 2012)

It says something they are bad enough some people have been defending them as artistic statements. Turns out, they're just bad.

Now if he had only used a Holga!

2 upvotes
GeorgeD200
By GeorgeD200 (Jul 7, 2012)

I think Klamar was the wrong guy for the job. He's a photojournalist (and a darn good one), but he likes his wide angle lenses. You can't use a wide angle in studio and without getting a bunch of background (which is what happened). I've shot tons of studio work with ripped paper -- it often rips and crinkles where they stand on it. You just shoot longer lenses and avoid getting that in the frame. Again, when a PJ does shoot posed portraits, they're usually "environmental" portraits, designed to place the subject in their context: a lab, an office, a library, etc. Very rarely do they shoot against a studio background. I think he just didn't know how to handle it.

3 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 7, 2012)

That's a point.

0 upvotes
Zdenek Janda
By Zdenek Janda (Jul 7, 2012)

I think that the photographs clearly show that olympic athletes, although at top in their sport discipline, are just people as you and me, and not "superhumans".

I am sure, that photographed athletes are not embarrassed by these photographs. As athletes have enough confidence in themselves, they don't need, and in most cases don't want, be photographed same way as fashion models.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

On the one hand, you say that these athletes are "just people as you and me", yet on the other hand you say that they won't feel any embarrassment-- which is a trait of any normal person who sees a ridiculous, unflattering photo of themselves...especially ones that are now plastered all over the internet for people to gawk at. It's quite contradictory: they are "just people as you and me" so we can be free to photograph them in any silly, unflattering, experimental way we want because they are athletes of "superhuman" confidence who won't mind having bad photos taken of them for all the world to see! Clearly you don't see the irony of your statements.

We all prefer to have decent photos taken of us, especially if they are going to be viewed by millions of people all over the world. And yet, you imply that these particular individuals have some kind of "superhuman" immunity to embarrassment, especially with the world now talking about how bad these photos are. Weird.

1 upvote
Zdenek Janda
By Zdenek Janda (Jul 7, 2012)

You really think that these photographs are humiliating the athletes? Well it's your opinion, not my. Better, ask athletes if they regret that they were photographed and presented this way..

If I was boy again, and athletics was my interest, I would really like post any of these pictures over bed, as reminder that ordinary looking guy can, with enough effort and luck, reach the Olympic games.

Based on fact that tens of world agentures chosed these photographs for presentation of athletes, maybe for the same reasons I wrote down, it seems that your view in this matter is not prevaling, fortunately.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

I've shot countless images that look just like the Trey Hardee image, and when my clients see a shot like that, they invariably say, "Oh, delete that!" This includes everyone from the super-confident to the meek and shy. No one wants to look like they are painfully constipated or look like they have cerebral palsy, unless you're a comedian or character actor!

You don't have to make them look like "superhumans" or "fashion models", but you don't have to go to the other extreme and make them look like awkward buffoons either! LOL.

1 upvote
Zdenek Janda
By Zdenek Janda (Jul 7, 2012)

It seems to me that you and your clients have very narrow view what is "proper" looking portrait.

And certainly you don't know what selfconfidence based on real inner strenght is.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

LOLOLOLOL!!!! Yeah, I'll show them the Trey Hardee shot and tell my clients: "This is what a *proper* looking portrait should look like. Mind if I do the same shots for you? Mind if I catch you with an unflattering expression? Mind if I take all the images that most people would normally consider to be the reject images, and post them as *art*? Mind if I take a shot of you that looks like it's a mugshot at a police station? No? Come on! Why not? You're too narrow minded!"

Seriously, I think Klamar took as many shots as he could possibly do in the short time that he had with each of these individuals, some of which were successful and some of which were absolute misses, and he probably never imagined that a "miss" shot like Hardee's would ever see the light of day, let alone be lauded as "proper" portraiture or even art by yahoos on the internet! Just goes to show that there's a sucker born every second.

2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

BTW, you don't just assume someone has "real inner strength" and use it as an excuse to take unflattering portraits of them. Besides, physical prowess in athletics doesn't necessarily mean that a person has "self confidence" and "real inner strength" in all aspects of life. You make too many assumptions as an excuse for sloppy photography. It's like using the subjects as a scapegoat: "I didn't need to photograph them well, because I'm pretty sure this person has *superhuman* confidence and inner strength!" Hehe, aren't you the one who was saying that these people *aren't* "superhuman", and are really "just people as you and me"?!?!

I've shot plenty of very successful, confident, strong people with a healthy level of "inner strength", and even they don't want unflattering pictures of them plastered all over the internet for people to gawk at. That's normal. Yes, these are gifted athletes, but they are just people like you and me. Or have you forgotten your own words?

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
xtoph
By xtoph (Jul 7, 2012)

olympic-class athletes at the top of their game are *not* 'just people like you and me'. get over yourself. superhuman is precisely what they are.

the bulk of the photos in question are inexcusably bad, although i am sympathetic with the predicament of the photographer.

1 upvote
Zdenek Janda
By Zdenek Janda (Jul 7, 2012)

@T3 , @xtoph

To my friends belong many excellent sportsmen (both men and women), even former top ten ATP tennis player, another one silver medallist from former Olympic games, and my wife was junior national team member in tennis.

I can assure you that all of them are humans just as you and me, with great selfconfidence AND with much greater sense of humour, self-irony and tolerance than people who "cares" about "unflattering" photographs of athletes.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 8, 2012)

"with great selfconfidence AND with much greater sense of humour, self-irony and tolerance than people who "cares" about "unflattering" photographs of athletes.."

...again, you make broad-stroke generalizations. It's like saying all Asian people are good at math, or all black people like rap music, or something. It's ridiculous. All athletes do not have the same personalities just because they happen to be athletes. You just love to lump people together. It's what a simpleton would do. It's called prejudice: making assumptions and pre-judgements about people without knowing them simply based on what they do or how they look. Really sad.

Even from sport to sport, people have different personality dispositions, let alone the different personality dispositions within a single sport. But to you, they are all the same: they ALL have "much greater sense of humor", they ALL have greater "self-irony and tolerance", etc. More assumptive prejudice, lumping people into a stereotype.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Zdenek Janda
By Zdenek Janda (Jul 8, 2012)

@T3 "It's called prejudice: making assumptions and pre-judgements about people without knowing them simply based on what they do or how they look. Really sad."

Look into the mirror and contemplate who is man to which such assertion belongs.

Please don't bother communicate with me anymore.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 8, 2012)

Prejudice is when you make broad assumptions of a group of people you don't know, simply based on some external factor, which is basically what you've done simply based on the fact that these people are athletes. It's bad form. "Oh, they don't mind having bad photos! They're athletes! They all have great self-irony and a greater sense of humor than the average person!" It's like saying, "Oh, give this math equation to that Asian guy! He's Asian! Asians all love math!"

It's just rude to make any of these prejudicial assumptions like you're doing.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Zdenek Janda
By Zdenek Janda (Jul 8, 2012)

I am making assumptions based on fact that athletes voluntarily posed the way the were photographed and I am not aware that anybody of these athletes is complaining in this matter. Their attitude is in agreement with my experiences with top athletes.

BTW, It's rude from you don't respect my wish to stop communication!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
John 3
By John 3 (Jul 7, 2012)

Some are better than others. Inconsistant. Maybe some editing to produce an A+ suite. But then coverage of all the personalities would be lost.

1 upvote
GaryW
By GaryW (Jul 7, 2012)

I followed the link, and saw a few other photos credited to him that looked good to me. This one posted here is just obnoxious. But funny, I suppose. Like an 8 year old getting photographed.

2 upvotes
Paul Pelletier2
By Paul Pelletier2 (Jul 7, 2012)

These are great pictures and really catch your attention! I like when some dare to do different then others.

Are people getting so conservatitve? Is there such thing as a "Standard" for photos?
Good thing Picasso was not born in this age, his work would be seen as retard and well why not "anti-patriotic"no idea why :-)

3 upvotes
Kalin Zlatkov
By Kalin Zlatkov (Jul 7, 2012)

I think different is good! So, great job!

3 upvotes
balico
By balico (Jul 7, 2012)

Don't know if he shoots raw, but his processing was not top, harsh shadows with minimum detail for instance.

Also in some photographs there is clearly dust visible on his sensor.

For a Pro photographer the results are below average, I might say!?

1 upvote
Tony Rundle
By Tony Rundle (Jul 7, 2012)

They are quirky, different, and manage to get some character into the portraits. I can understand people wanting to see corny shots of athletes wrapped in the star spangle banner, but anyone can do that - it doesn't take much imagination. Most people who reckon they could do better probably couldn't come up with such an individual take on the subjects, especially given the time available. I think some of them are great, although I personally would have tidied up some of the backgrounds a bit in post.

1 upvote
ricko5
By ricko5 (Jul 7, 2012)

What an absolute pile of junk.

Why didn't they ask someone like McNally or one of the other many many well respected sport or fashion guys in the US?

In years to come when these athletes are old and gray and they tell their grandchildren about the time many years ago when they competed with the very best athletes on the planet, they had better back it up with paperwork or medals because if they showed these images their grandkids would probably think they are pulling their leg. "Here look at the picture of me as a world class athlete" they will be embarrassing. This is not art, it is not clever and no amount of pompous language and over explaining can disguise the fact.

The images are an insult to the dedication and professionalism of all the athletes and they cheapen the Olympics into some kind of joke.

The only positive I can think of is that as a (probably) over priced, poorly designed and poorly executed mess - at least it is in keeping with the official "logo" of the games.

6 upvotes
Matt
By Matt (Jul 7, 2012)

+1 - well stated, could not agree with you more!

2 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Jul 7, 2012)

Some seriously absurd photos. Made me laugh a lot.I can't quite get a handle on what his "concepts" are.

Perhaps this is just a bit of fun. Well, I enjoyed it.

0 upvotes
Matt
By Matt (Jul 7, 2012)

Wow, being able to be a part in representing one of the world's most covered and watch events. The venue where one has a chance to demonstrate their ability against the best from each nation. Whether you are competing or covering the events, you bring your "A" game. Instead, someone without the common sense to recognize the importance to "step up to the challenge" provides the world a view of a nation's best athletes not even worthy of a P&S handled by a 5th grader.

Three major errors here: ONE, someone who thinks he a photographer and attempts to pull off such trash; TWO, the group that hired him, and THREE; the publishing entity who actually allowed the inferior attempt to go out.

For those in the mindset that this was a "fresh approach", the question for you and our misguided photographer here is: Where is your moral fiber? You do NOT experiment when it comes to the Olympics.

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jul 7, 2012)

Studio portraits which are not _completely and utterly_ boring is an Olympic-worthy achievement in itself.
And people who use the world "unpatriotic" towards others should be sent to North Korea for reeducation.

11 upvotes
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (Jul 7, 2012)

I am not an American, so patriotism is completely out of my appraisal, as modest and personal as it is.

These are bad photos. Period.

...and now we know why. He told us so. He was unprepared, either by his own fault or by having been mislead by the organization.

If it was the first case, he's the one accountable. If it was the second scenario the photo editor is accountable for having validated these.

That a colleague of his calls "serendipity" to his unpreparedness, says a lot about the bad kind of corporativism amidst fellow workers we often see.

That creases and stains in the backdrop carried through the final release versions, in spite of being easily able to have been taken care of in PP, says a lot about how "special vision" and "pressing working conditions" are not the key issues in this whole affair.

PK

0 upvotes
altendky
By altendky (Jul 7, 2012)

Good or bad photos aside... I really don't understand how a photo that acknowledges that it was taken in a studio is somehow wrong. If they want 'professional' portraits to show to their grand kids, I'm sure many photographers would be happy to shoot them for free. As to PP, I thought that was 'evil' and 'immoral' because it is misleading! Well, I thought that is what we say to photojournalists at least.

If it were a group photo that would be difficult to pull off in the future, then maybe be angry about the wasted opportunity. But these individual shots could easily be redone at any time by any of thousands or more photographers around the world in a completely invented environment of flowing flags and flattering lighting with some PP to 'correct' any so-called imperfections.

0 upvotes
Nmphoto
By Nmphoto (Jul 7, 2012)

Come on people. Do you really think these photos would be released looking like this if it wasn't some sort of publicity stunt? If if he did come unprepared, surely photoshop could have been called upon before the photos were released? Maybe someone don't want Klamar working for them anymore, and are using this as an excuse to move him on?

Something smells fishy here.

1 upvote
RMillward
By RMillward (Jul 7, 2012)

I felt that too when this ridiculousness burst forth on Reddit - which is owned by Conde Nast and therefore perfectly positioned to launch this sort of faux-outrage-campaign. The guy's a well-respected professional and i believe if the shots turned out this way it must have been intentional. It doesn't take much to read these as a direct rebuke to the American culture of glorification via image manipulation, which speaks directly to the lowbrow vitriol being served up icy cold by "experts" both here and elsewhere across the net. At the end of the day, though, you'd have to reach pretty damned far to find a place where this actually MATTERS - a little perspective on the lasting importance of this set of pictures really should be in order...

1 upvote
taintedcamera
By taintedcamera (Jul 7, 2012)

"He also points out that photo editors (AFP’s clients) had a wide selection of pictures to choose from – “serious, funky, official” – and that not all of them were offbeat."
I noticed a few of his chosen pics showed two athletes standing with their finger and thumbs raised in gun fashion, while another displayed a prominent shotgun poise.
Every photo chosen, showed all the American athletes in poor manner. Was this the French AFP's attempt at slandering America?

I believe it was...

1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Jul 7, 2012)

If these photographs were exactly the same, but had been taken by Annie Leibowitz, there wouldn't be such fuss.

1 upvote
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (Jul 7, 2012)

(Olá!)

You're completely off the mark here. Annie Leibovitz wouldn't be caught releasing something like this even if she was dead and had to stop it from the grave.

For starters, she wouldn't have accepted this type of assignment unless they would guarantee she could bring along her full production set, including 8 assistants.

Then, she would have churned them through her almost industrial PP workflow to guarantee they would convey whatever her vision for this assignment was.

The end result would have been notable, although also not necessarily consensual.

...She thinks too much of herself and is too much of a control-freak to ever allow this to happen. If you don't believe me check out this revealing bit of video about her session with Queen Elizabeth II. Her whole stance throughout the video says a lot about herself. The bit about removing the tiara, which she calls "crown", then, is just precious...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhjEQpEGvaQ

PK

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Jul 7, 2012)

C'mon, I know all there is to know about Annie Leibovitz (save for the occasional spelling of her last name, I know...), but that's not the point. It's obvious this campaign is aimed at causing some controversy, and that was apparently accomplished (at least here at DPReview it seems to have caused some stir). I stand by my point: if A L had taken these photos, they'd still be controversial, but would also be more widely accepted.
Nowadays there is a trend towards a more natural approach to this kind of photography (see http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/02/a-sign-of-the-times.html), which goes as far as refusing Photoshop. These photos seem to follow this trend, and they are quite impressive. I don't understand why they are so polemic, but I understand most reactions here are triggered by what people interpret as technical flaws. Maybe they're more comfortable with conventional, static photos of people staring at the camera with a foolish smile...

3 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Jul 7, 2012)

- deleted -

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ALFREDofAVALON
By ALFREDofAVALON (Jul 10, 2012)

Annie Liebowitz would not, could not EVER had taken these crappy pics.

0 upvotes
Joe Bowers
By Joe Bowers (Jul 7, 2012)

Crappy photographer.

2 upvotes
Imfor Umman
By Imfor Umman (Jul 7, 2012)

Some of the pictures are just bad, bad, bad. Why they were realeased, who knows.

Some of the pictures are not bad, almost to the point of being good. But not excellent and not noteworthy in any way.

Most of the pictures this guy (I don't know the name of more than one contemporary photographer -- in 30 years from now the ones worth remembering will have filtered through) has taken, look like outtakes or behind-the-scenes shots. This is what makes them interesting, and thus good, in an unconventional way.

IMHO. If this is not your take on these pictures, say so and go on with your life. Getting all hung on up on this, shouting about dignity (if the athletes' dignity can be seriously attacked by a pictures, so help us god) and patriotism (WTF?!?) is just plain... sad. Go on with your lives, and if you want star-spangling-banner-pics of these athletes to hang above you bed, no worry, in the other photo-shoot-booths, enough will have been taken.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
zoranT
By zoranT (Jul 7, 2012)

Patriotism/Nationalism makes people not only stupid but also blind. People think in terms of 'types' not individuals.

10 upvotes
wlachan
By wlachan (Jul 7, 2012)

Lame excuse. An expert can do far better with even one light.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
ripimage
By ripimage (Jul 7, 2012)

Great images. Lots of impact and character. Really stand out from the rest. Love them.

3 upvotes
Quoth
By Quoth (Jul 7, 2012)

Just garbage. Bad lighting. Bad posing. Bad interaction.
Just shows. Win a major press award and still can't take a photo.

I sympathise with his argument that the setup was not what he was led to expect, but still.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (Jul 7, 2012)

Interesting "point of view" Very reporters like photography, humanly approached.

1 upvote
starwolfy
By starwolfy (Jul 7, 2012)

I looked at those pics with my wife.
Indeed nothing wrong with those. We enjoyed them all and we are not american nor thinking those people look idiots...

I like the raw approach of the photographer. It's like...there a studio...but it feels a bit like the photoshoot was done by a friend for a friend...with this kind of "unprofessional professionalism" if you get what I mean.

I think it changes from what we usually see and it's cool.

I hope the photographer assumed this as it was his idea and how he wanted it to be...as it is what he decided to produce and show...
Instead of this he listened too much to criticism and started to say apologies like he was not prepared blablabla...

There should be no rules to expression.

2 upvotes
Joe Bowers
By Joe Bowers (Jul 7, 2012)

If he was smart, he would claim that this is exactly what he envisioned and damn the critics. Admitting that he was unprepared just proves that he is unprofessional and that the photos were not what he had planned.

0 upvotes
Alex Mylnikov
By Alex Mylnikov (Jul 7, 2012)

He is smart just because he did not ask advice from you. Limiting yourself to what considered to be good by majority is not a way of doing an outstanding work. These photos are not outstanding but at least they are not boring.

2 upvotes
Ropo16
By Ropo16 (Jul 7, 2012)

No, but you made some bad films Mr Cage.

0 upvotes
Ropo16
By Ropo16 (Jul 7, 2012)

I think dpreview were aiming for the same look with their Zuiko 75mm 1.8 samples.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 7, 2012)

You are HILARIOUS. Do you do shows?

6 upvotes
ChrisKramer1
By ChrisKramer1 (Jul 7, 2012)

Maybe he had a falling out with the employer and served up a load of bull****, just like Lou Reed did with Metal Machine Music (and there are people who actually listen to that, by the way).

But whenever anyone criticizes our shots, we can always say (in our best Cartman accent) "Dis is ah deliberate attempt ta challenge de conventions of photography, yeh kneew."

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Michael S.
By Michael S. (Jul 7, 2012)

Lousy pictures and actually shows how much "photoshopping" counts nowadays in this business...give this photos an professional photoshop artist and, retouching background and lightning and almost everyone will be happy.

1 upvote
Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee

Lads and Lassies,

the Olympics is about competition, not photography. This is irrelevant nonsense!

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

You're missing the point. Since this is a photography forum, and not an athletics forum, then obviously we're going to concentrate on the *photographic* aspect of the Olympics! We're not going to sit around talking about which athletes we think are going to win medals or break records. Yes, the Olympics are about competition, but this forum is about photography. Get it?

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Jul 7, 2012)

It's about corporate money making scams, the running about just provides a vehicle for plenty to get rich. This was sold as a games for the people. The problem is the people got stuffed on the tickets. A local travel agent was advertising tickets, I asked if they had any for the opening ceremony, "yes we have £4k each". A nice family day out that is. When you to police it with aircraft carriers and surface to air missiles, when you stop people taking their own sandwiches into the park, so you can sell them a McDonalds, when they ask the musicians to play for free at the ceremony. When you look at all that. It's time to say enough is enough its lost all meaning. I like sport, I play sport, the Olympics has little to do with sport these days, no one hosts it because of a love of sport, it's done for the opportunities it provides, but those opportunities are only offered to a few.
Kevin

4 upvotes
wlachan
By wlachan (Jul 7, 2012)

True, that's why the athletes should provide their own self-portraits instead of hiring someone for the job.

0 upvotes
PAUL TILL
By PAUL TILL (Jul 7, 2012)

Sounds like someone lost their burger van pitch and is having a sulk.

0 upvotes
jsandjs
By jsandjs (Jul 8, 2012)

So, let's see something upon competition, not those stupid poses on the stupid media day.

0 upvotes
spthealien
By spthealien (Jul 7, 2012)

Wow.

Going through the images, I actually notice that some of them are pretty good-then I notice that those photos are done by another photographer.

The initial impression I get from those images is "whoa. those look like they were shot at my local department store. worse even."

Then the more I think about it, the more upset I get. Instead of seeing an athlete, I am seeing the photographer's ego or lack of skill. I know several photographers who would adapt to a shift in client needs and still make the photos excel. After putting more thought into it, it shows a disrespect for not only the athlete but also for the country these photos are trying to represent to the rest of the world.

Then I read that he's Agence France Presse's chief photographer and born in Slovakia. I can't help but wonder if he's trying to show his allegiance (or lack of) in his photography.

Joe, you're taking photographs of athletes in one of our world's most watched event. Show up with more than 1 strobe.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
King Penguin
By King Penguin (Jul 7, 2012)

Oh dear........never mind. They should have been photographed wearing raincoats and umbrellas......cos that's what they are going to need visiting our wonderful country.......if fact it's been raining here so much recently they're going to need Wellington boots as well!

Imagine the mens 100m final.......with them all wearing welly boots! That's what it will be like..........in fact, they better bring some lifejackets as well...... :)

3 upvotes
Bart Hickman
By Bart Hickman (Jul 7, 2012)

I think they're ugly. Seems like almost everybody else thinks they're ugly. They must be ugly. If you have to explain that they're not ugly, then they're ugly. This shouldn't even be controversial. Joe who? Nobody cares who the heck shot them. The only one's who look bad are the athletes. I'm embarrassed for them.

1 upvote
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (Jul 7, 2012)

Boy, when this guy gets comfortable with studio lighting and such, he will produce great images... but now... not so much.

0 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (Jul 7, 2012)

and optics and composition and other things yeah heel be great after that

0 upvotes
bigdaddave
By bigdaddave (Jul 7, 2012)

I'd say it depends if he fulfilled the brief he was paid for.

They're slightly interesting, but frankly it looks as if he's trying to be too clever. I don't like them much.

1 upvote
karuna
By karuna (Jul 7, 2012)

These pictures are fantastic; touching, even. Kudos to Klamar. The objections show a pathetic mentality--they want God pictures, not human pictures. The athletes are special *people*, get it? To treat them otherwise is to disrespect them. And when has national pride become so fragile?

3 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

Would you feel that way if they weren't shot by "Joe Klamar" and instead were shot by some unknown "Joe Schmoe"? I think for many people, this is a case of "They were shot by Joe Klamar, so they must be genius!" If, on the other hand, they were just shot by some random dpreview forum member, they would be blasted for their poor compositions, awkward poses, blown highlights, inky blacks, random shadows, haphazard framing, and even disdainful depictions ("Hey, can you put that shuttlecock on your head and wear it like a little hat? I like how it'll make you look like a funny Asian clown!"')

No one is saying that we want "God pictures". But does a photographer really have to shoot an image like Hardee (above) where he looks like he's some kind of mentally disabled athlete with an IQ of five year old? Is that really humanizing? Or is it just degrading?

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
karuna
By karuna (Jul 7, 2012)

I had no idea who Klamar was. I had to double check to make sure I type the name right. So I don't think the name play any role at least in my case. The photos have an immediate quality and the moments captured are interesting, not textbook boring stuff.

I also have an entirely different reaction than you when I look at the Hardee photo. When I mentioned "touching" in my original post, I was referring to this one. This is a guy who looks ordinary, uncomfortable and even awkward in front of the lens. You won't notice him when he passes by in a mall. And yet he goes out and does amazing things. There is a depth to this; you can stare at this for a few minutes and be more and more amazed. This is, by definition, art.

2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

I think you're conning yourself. Or you have a low standard for art. Do you really think that this is Hardee's "ordinary" face? Do you really think that he walks through a mall making this funny face? Are you truly enthralled just by someone making an unnatural, clownish grimace in a photo? Is this really "touching" to you?

There is no subtlety to this over exaggerated face. In fact, it's more like a mask. You can almost hear the photographer instructing him to twist his face into an unrealistic grimace for the sake of effect. "Hey, instead of your natural smile or expression, lets go completely overboard and unrealistic! It'll be so NATURAL and TOUCHING! And while you're at it, give be some bug-out eyes! Yes, your natural, touching, sensitive, ordinary BUG-OUT eyes!" LOL.

3 upvotes
karuna
By karuna (Jul 7, 2012)

Whatever.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jul 7, 2012)

Self-serving controversy photos done at the expense of amateur athletes? Classy guy.

People have to keep in mind that a lot of wedding, event, and journalistic photographers have to shoot in less-than-ideal circumstances every day, and we still manage to turn out properly composed, lit, and rendered photos that don't make our subjects look so awkward, embarrassing, and downright unflattering.

People who are saying that these are "good" photos might want to watch their tongues the next time they critique someone else's photos that aren't nearly as bad as these photos. Let's face it, if these photos were submitted to dpreview's galleries (or any other galleries, for that matter), these photos would be crucified...and probably crucified by many of the same people who are currently defending these photos as "good"!

3 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (Jul 7, 2012)

for once we completely agree

0 upvotes
FTW
By FTW (Jul 7, 2012)

I have seen the pictures. They show that Joe Klamar is both, a terrible photographer and a great thinker. That pictures are ..... what could I say, jsut, wow.

0 upvotes
swhs
By swhs (Jul 7, 2012)

> many commentors dismissing his images as unprofessional at best, and at worst unpatriotic.

Ah yes, there we have 'patriotic'/'unpatriotic' again. Of course!

Such inane comments are much more offensive than any quality those picture may or may not have. And such commentators obviously don't understand anything about the olympic ideals. No, it's not about performing for a country, it's for yourself. Despite what countries (goverments and/or a large part of the populous feeling the following way:) who want advertise themselves (esp. during the Cold war times, but it hasn't stopped for various reasons) as better than others, think.

2 upvotes
win39
By win39 (Jul 7, 2012)

They look to me like a big ego taking revenge against a client who has already deposited the money. "I am so good, they will think they are art and I will be laughing. Ef the Olympics." Hopefully he will regret it in his old age.

1 upvote
stanic042
By stanic042 (Jul 7, 2012)

totally!

0 upvotes
Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Jul 7, 2012)

Image quality is an ambivalent term

0 upvotes
Total comments: 437
1234