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Wednesday, 09 April 2008

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This is just a little off-topic, but one of the things I really like about Malcolm Gladwell (in both of those books as well as his articles in The New Yorker) is that, even when I disagree with him, I find him to be a very honest writer. He lays out his research and interviews and the thinking that leads to his conclusions. In fact, he has shown several times that he's open to changing him mind over time. (For example: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/04/technology/04online.ready.html )

He's naturally curious and that curiosity seems to drive his writing, rather than some arbitrary agenda.

Well done John,

This dovetails nicely with the DP-1 review. One only has to read a couple forums to realize what marketing,intrigue, speculation and a bit of real desire can do. It seems many people bought the DP-1 out of at least a small sense of fashion and were quickly disappointed.

One also need not go far to find a connoisseurship of cameras, but I wonder how much of that is mere collecting?

Hold on to that print..........maybe store it away safely and pull it out in a couple years. You might be surprised buy your reaction as I doubt very much that you really bought it out of a sense of fashion/trendiness.

Sorry to mention this book again, but Frank Kermode's wonderful essay "The patience of Shakespeare" suggests that what makes a classic is that one can return to it again and again and see new things in it and new possible interpretations. I think that's the Mapplethorpe problem - they aren't patient. I feel rather the same as John Camp does, only perhaps "sterile" rather than "inane", perhaps even "thin". I can, though, imagine someone else being fascinated by the forms of the flowers, the textures and finding them much more rewarding than I do. Ditto Ansel Adams. On the other hand, there are people like Klein or Winogrand, or Muzi Quawson whose pictures I can come back to often and soak more out of each time. "Connoisseurship" often doesn't allow for that, and its values become self-referential. Everything is judged in terms of how closely if conforms to an ideal template.

Apropos not having time to make a wrong decision and having just enough time to make the right one, I recall reading that during the Second World War, when they were training civil defence people to identify enemy 'planes, they could not improve the success rate no matter how much time they gave the observers.

But when they cut the available time in which observers had to identify the 'planes, the success rate improved even when the observers had only fractions of a second in which to decide.

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