Award-winning photographer Joe Klamar has recently come under fire for his recent Olympic portraits. With access so limited to the athletes in the run-up to London 2012, many feel he has not only missed a fantastic opportunity to create (what could have been) stunning portraits, but he has created truly terrible photography.
Heather Murphy (of Slate) has stated: “Initially, the images were passed around on Reddit, where they were ruthlessly mocked. Then the photography community caught wind of them. “Horrible,” cried one Facebook commenter, when Sportsphotographer.net creator Cy Cyr linked to the images in his feed. “Amateurs don’t even make these mistakes!” another noted. “This is an embarrassment to our country and my profession,” wrote another commenter on a blog post about the affair. On Facebook you could even find that classic line of Internet criticism: “My kid could do better.”
Awful lighting, composition and amateurish mistakes including cropping on athletes limbs, awkward angles, and including ribbed backdrops are some of the aspects viewers have slated. Some have suggested these photographs couldn’t be so horrendously bad on purpose. Are they ironic? Creative? Tongue-in-cheek? Heather continues: “The photos were so awful that some commentators even refused to believe they had been an accident, one blogger going so far as to suggest that they were an intentional subversive act.”
It has been noted that Klamar was only notified of the assignment less than 24 hours before the shoot, and equal criticism has been placed at the feet of the publishers for publishing them and not ordering a re-shoot with ample time and preparation. What is clear, however, is the people have spoken, and the people are not impressed.