Is this really the future of photography?

Sam Irons The Creative Review blog has a post about LPA Futures, a competition designed to "find the next generation of commercial photographers." The prize: five young photographers get to have their careers "nurtured" by the Lisa Pritchard Agency. There are lots of these awards around these days for young photographers and god knows that they need it as it is certainly not getting any easier to earn a living from photography.

However, I have to say I find the prize-winning images on show here depressing. Individually they are technically proficient, and a couple I even found arresting, but what depresses me is that they could all easily have been taken by the same person (or maybe 1.5 people). I don't see any diversity in this group: they all have the same cold, detached approach to their subject, whether landscapes or portraits, and convey the requisite "contemporary" emptiness, which has become so omniscient. I even find the treatment of colour remarkably similar by four out of the five photographers here. If this prize really identifies the "next generation," then the clones are soon going to have their day. I am not aiming my criticims at any of these young photographers, and hope that they will all be nurtured by LPA to great success, but it would be pretty tragic if the future of photography was as homogenous as this.