Fake Photo Essay Wins Paris Match Prize
Published: June 29 2009
"Before they received their trophy and €5,000 (£4,260) cheque at a ceremony on Wednesday, the prize-winners, Guillaume Chauvin and Rémi Hubert, read out a statement admitting to the hoax, stating that they had wanted to make a 'powerful artistic gesture' attacking the 'voyeurism' and gullibility of parts of the press. The prize jury looked crestfallen but managed to applaud all the same."
Needless to say this stunt is an embarrassment for Paris Match and its contest judges. The British Journal of Photography notes that Paris Match withdrew the prize and published a note to readers saying the images had been faked.
What's interesting about this project is the images by themselves communicate no facts, only feelings. When the photos are labeled as genuine and tied to a social concern—in this case, student poverty—they become important and affecting. We wonder if the students could have made this point without resorting to lying.