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Well Doctor, it’s like this ……

A new neighbour recently moved into my street. Usual pleasantries – if you need to borrow a bowl of sugar – that sort of thing.   She then told me that she was a ‘Development Producer’. At which point I could have nodded knowingly at what a Development Producer was, or flicked a blank look. One settled on the latter, it being the more plausible.

It transpires that a Development Producer creates/generates new ideas and concepts for TV programmes. Just as you would do to an unsuspecting doctor at a party, then next thing I was doing was making a pitch to the poor woman on this great idea I had.

Sky Arts has just finished running its third series of ‘Master of Photography’. The concept is simple enough. A number of good amateur/semi-pro photographers take on a specific assignment each week. The person considered to have produced the weakest work gets their marching orders and misses out on a opportunity to earn the 100,000€ prize.

All fine and dandy, but for the viewer and budding photographers, the level of knowledge and insights imparted by the show is minimal. By way of example, the photographer’s work is flashed up on screen with an ‘f’ number and ISO. What does this mean to the ordinary viewer and why is it important. There is very little advice on photographic composition that would help the TV viewer transform their photography skills.

At the end of the show. The poor person leaving the programme gets their supposed weak effort further crushed by the judges. Twisting of knife is not required at this stage!

If I was a Development Producer, I would carve out 15 mins in the programme to discuss a different aspect of photography. Imagine someone such as David Noton discussing his approach to photography? Someone explaining the importance of F, ISO, WB? Or someone, say Don McCullin, talking about his iconic picture of the shell shocked US marine in Vietnam.

Absolute credit to Sky Arts for trying something different. However, a touch more thought and consideration could have transformed the Masters of Photography into something that was far more accessible to the masses. Isn’t that what art is about?

Back in the box.