I interviewed today for a position on the editorial staff of the campus creative writing magazine. It was a group interview, and, as part of it, we were asked to look at two pieces and decide whether or not we would include them in the magazine. One was a poem, the other a photograph.
The poem just wasn't very good. The photograph, however, was interesting; it was of a pile of trash in a Chinese street with people casually walking by. The title was "Public Health." It had bright, visually arresting colors, an interesting and thought provoking subject matter, and a great title. But the composition was jumbled and discordant, the cropping done poorly. It was, as one of the other candidates for the position put it, "like a point and shoot picture." If it had been cropped better, or taken at a better angle, it could have been a very nice piece.
One of the interviewers brought up the point that maybe the photographer had intended it to look that way. Maybe the composition was supposed to look like a point and shoot in order to say something about the chaoticness of a rapidly industrializing China, about the casualness with which the people in the photograph treated the pile of garbage.