Writing on Photography
Doing a Photo Critique
An Afghan soldier protects his face from a dust storm.Balazs Gardi / Basetrack.org, Creative Commons. In late May, the Chicago Sun-Times took the unprecedented move of gutting its photography department by laying off 28 full-time employees, including John H. White, a 35-year veteran who had won the paper a Pulitzer. The nation's 8th largest newspaper figured it could cut costs by hiring freelancers and training reporters to shoot iPhone photos, to which Chicago Tribune photographer Alex Garcia responded: "I have never been in a newsroom where you could do someone else's job and also do yours well. Even when I shoot video and stills on an assignment, with the same camera, both tend to suffer. Can Photojournalism Survive in the Instagram Era?
The eyes of the emperor’s brother once looked straight into a camera, in this case ‘manned’ by a photographer whose duty it was to take pictures of the rich and powerful. Jerome’s eyes had been privileged enough to look into Napoleon’s eyes. The photograph as described by Roland Barthes allowed him to establish a relay between Jerome (in the 1850’s) and the modern readers of CAMERA LUCIDA This juxtaposition of time and space is at the root of Barthes’s meditation on photography in CAMERA LUCIDA. Barthes provides us with the social and cultural matrix at the heart of his activi ties as a viewer and as a cultural analyst. Photographs + Images — Critical Approaches to Culture + Media
I am working on a dissertation about self-documentation and social media and have decided to take on theorizing the rise of faux-vintage photography (e.g., Hipstamatic, Instagram). From May 10-12, 2011, I posted a three part essay. This post combines all three together. Part I: Instagram and HipstamaticPart II: Grasping for AuthenticityPart III: Nostalgia for the Present a recent snowstorm in DC: taken with Instagram and reblogged by NPR on Tumblr The Faux-Vintage Photo: Full Essay (Parts I, II and III) » Cyborgology
SUSAN SONTAG: “Looking at War – Photography’s View of Devastation and Death”
Tourist Snapshots Essay: Rolf Potts Thailand, 2001 In the fall of 2001, while I was living in the south Thailand border town of Ranong, I had a brief love affair with an Australian woman named Eva.
Shoot Hip or Die There’s a photograph in my living room that I took three years ago in a Vietnamese diner in Vegas. It’s of a girl I used to see, but do not think about anymore. It’s in black and white, and she’s crowded to the right side of the frame, eyes fixed on the lens, lips hanging open a little. I remember the moment I took it. It was an hour before I left, a preamble to a goodbye.
Writing and photography – is a picture really worth a thousand words? | Sean O'Hagan | Art and design "For photographers, the ideal book of photographs would contain just pictures – no text at all" photographer Robert Adams once wrote. He went on to admit that he "once worked through more than a hundred drafts of a four-paragraph statement for a catalogue, all to find something that would just keep out of the way of the pictures". Finding words that keep out of the way of the pictures and yet shed light on the nature of photography is nonetheless something that Adams has excelled at, in two books of essays: Why People Photograph (from where that quotation is taken) and Beauty in Photography. Like Stephen Shore, he is a brilliant photographer who also happens to be a gifted and incisive writer. Adams's main subject is the American West, the encroachment of the man-made on the natural.
Not Ruining the Photo Recently I spoke at a conference about the American conflict in Vietnam. This was the first time I had presented a paper at a conference and it was interesting to receive responses after the talk. Some people were really excited by what I had said, some people wanted to argue with me, some people wanted to quiz me, and one guy said this: “Do you think you are kind of ruining the photo by analysing it so much?
Errol Morris: The Thinking Man's Detective My favorite private-eye trick is the one I learned about from Errol Morris. You probably know Morris as an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker. Roger Ebert called his first film, Gates of Heaven, one of “the ten greatest films ever made.” With The Thin Blue Line, Morris dramatically freed an innocent man imprisoned on a murder rap.
Minor White on Equivalence Equivalence: The Perennial TrendMinor White, PSA Journal, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 17-21, 1963 When we speak of trends, we concern ourselves with changes, with shifts in style from here to there and back again. Trends are peripheral, yet we can lose ourselves in too blind a concern for them.
Essential Readings on Photography
The Photographs of Jean-Franois Bonhomme Jacques Derrida Publication Year: 2010 Athens, Still Remains is an extended commentary on a series of photographs of contemporary Athens by the French photographer Jean-Franois Bonhomme. Athens, Still Remains
[Symbolism, Life as Art, Art and Science, Self] Situation: Photography is a fundamentally objective medium in the hands of wholly subjective beings; hence it’s symbolic nature. Photography has become a locus about which are created both works of art and scientific theories. Various photographic luminaries have championed photography’s “objectivity” in contradistinction to the supposed subjectivity of less direct media. Others have held that subjectivity cannot be avoided, and indeed is essential for photography to be art. Subjective&Objective