Michael Wolf’s Decisive Moment

Photographer Michael Wolf’s recent Honorable Mention from World Press Photo for his Google Street View-gleaned A Series of Unfortunate Events has been attracting some aesthetic discussions. Is this photojournalism? Are dramatic grandmas that have fallen and can’t get up and Henri Cartier-Bresson-esque crops… art? Wait, are we still arguing about this?

Just in case you need justification, here’s Wolf’s:

I use a tripod and mount the camera, photographing a virtual reality that I see on the screen. It’s a real file that I have, I’m not taking a screenshot. I put the camera forward and do an exact crop, and that’s what makes it my picture. It doesn’t belong to Google, because I’m interpreting Google; I’m appropriating Google. If you look at the history of art, there’s a long history of appropriation.