Susan Sontag: “Speech and Inteview at Wellesley College (1975)

June 8, 1972 @ Nick Ut Excerpt from a speech delivered at a Wellesley College photographic symposium on April 21, 1975. I am a writer and a filmmaker. I don’t consider myself a critic, and I am above all not a critic of photography. But it’s from that strictly independent and freelance position that I […]

David Moore: “Pictures from the Real World” (2013)

David Moore: Colour Photographs 1987-­88 Pictures From The Real World Essay by David Chandler If the chemically charged 1960s brought new constellations of colour to the drab austerity of post‐war Britain, then British documentary photography remained that period’s more sober shadow: resolutely black and white and firmly rooted in a past, it was the serious, […]

John Szarkowski On Robert Frank’s Book ‘The Americans'” (1986)

I saw it I suppose very shortly after it was published, when I was still working as a photographer myself, and it was, frankly, shocking. I sensed the power in it, and the authority about it but there was much about it that I didn’t like… The Americans was received with mixed critical reaction. Not […]

Michael Jang: “The Jang’s”

Abby and Sam Corner a Cat, 1973 By David Spalding Sometimes the subjects in Michael Jang’s photographic time capsule, “The Jangs,” perform for the camera: Uncle Monroe decked out in his golfing gear, reclines on a shag sectional like a suburban Odalisque. Elsewhere, they seem unaware of the young photographer documenting their domestic routines and […]

In the Face of All Odds: Dorothea Lange’s Psychological Studies of the Depression’s Disenfranchised (1986)

By Merrill Schleier. Presented at Southwest Labor Studies Conference, March 14, 1986 Dorothea Lange’s images of the Depression’s unemployed and disenfranchised victims have long been acknowledged both for their power to prompt government action and their compassion. Lange was one of several photographers employed by the Resettlement Administration, which was later subsumed under the Farm […]

John Szarkowski: “Photography and the Mass Media” (1967)

  By John Szarkowski, originally published in Dot Zero, Spring 1967 The basic effect of modern mass media on photography has been to erode the creative independence and the accountability of the photographer who has worked for them. This is not a value judgement (except from the point of view of the photographer) but rather […]

Robert Adams on John Gossage’s ‘The Pond’ (1986)

 One is grateful for The Pond because we are in trouble, and because irony which focuses on the ugliness of man-made juxtapositions does not at this point, by itself, help.   By Robert Adams, excerpt from Creative Camera: 30 Years of Writing (Manchester University Press, 2000) Irony, defined as unrecognized incongruity, take many forms as […]

Weegee: Portrait of the Artist as a Paparazzo (2006)

He was so respected by the NYPD that they let him fit a police radio in his car, but even with that edge, his uncanny ability to show up at a crime scene before the police even knew about the crime gave him his nickname. Weegee was so fast that he must be getting tip-offs […]

Lee Friedlander: “An Exemplary Modern Photographer (excerpt)” (1975)

  Friedlander’s work provides some of the first and best examples of what has become a widespread approach to photography. It was part of the general reorientation of the sixties within American art. Within photography his work violated the dominant formal canons not by inattention but by systemic negation.   By Martha Rosler, excerpt from […]

Sophie Ristelhueber: “Facts of Matter” (2011)

  By Bruno Vandermeulen, Danny Veys, excerpt from Imaging History. Photography after the fact, 2011 The French artist Sophie Ristelhueber arrived in Kuwait seven months afater the war had ended, photographing aerial views and close-ups of the desert after the battle. The original title for this series, Fait, has a double meaning, translating both as “fact” – […]

ralph eugene meatyard

Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Learning to See ‘No-Focus’ (2011)

Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925-1972) spent three months looking through an unfocused camera in order to “learn to see No-Focus.” By Rebekah Modrak, Bill Anthes, excerpt from Reframing Photography: Theory and Practice, 2011 Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925-1972) spent three months looking through an unfocused camera in order to “learn to see No-Focus.” Working roughly 30 years […]