Prix Pictet jury chairman Francis Hodgson recently wrote about the photography prize’s short list in the Financial Times.
There is a word in all of this upon which I would like to rely more than I can. It is a word that hardly construes as a proper verb. It’s also difficult to translate. The word is “matter”. The vast majority of pictures just don’t matter. The photographer had nothing to say, or has been unable to say something meaningful. Photography is demotic and vernacular, and much of it is of no great interest. Yet it is only within that deep mulch that the few major exceptions can be seen to flourish. At the same time photography remains a perfectly ordinary cultural activity in that it responds to analysis. A picture should be demonstrably good or bad for coherent reasons. But not everybody’s mattering is the same. The pictures presented here are very different. But every one of them matters.