Whether a photograph is good depends on the reviewer’s opinion, but it can be backed up by knowledge of photographic techniques and the photographer’s experiences to support the claim. Don McCullin’s image is visually and contextually striking, showing the reality of war, and how those around it cope among the horror. This horrific scenery is slightly diluted with the bright faces of the musicians, artfully captured in the mist of such a dangerous situation. The cheer risk that McCullin endured to capture such a striking image is of paramount importance when judging this image, considering its clarity and the conditions surrounding him. The musicians presence makes the image thought provoking because of the situation. Stereotypes in war are tinged by death and mourning, but McCullin’s photograph gives an alternative from a place like Lebanon, that is used to the continuous torment during the Lebanese civil war 1975-1990, dealing with death in different ways. Each element of this photograph makes it a prime example of a good image.
However, the photograph of Andy Warhol by Christopher Makos doesn’t attract the same interest. It might not be a fair comparison because they are completely different images, but regardless of this, the acclaim of Warhol’s work and the photography surrounding him is highly overrated. The image is nothing but a documentation of Andy Warhol on the phone, and with the rest of the series following similar activities, it shouldn’t be a shock to call this image ‘bad’. Understandably, it shows how a talisman of the art world is still a normal human being, but compositionally it doesn’t reveal much about him and it lacks the visuals and contextual interest of McCullin’s image.