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Tuesday, 10 July 2007


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A very interesting article. Have your criticisms of either Szarkowski or Winogrand in any way changed given the changes in photography over the last 15 years?

Mike - sorry to hear about your own health issues that are lingering ... wishing you a speedy & tidy recovery from it !


Hope you get better real soon.


Mike, that's a fantastic essay on Szarkowski and it's easy to say "I wish you did more of these", but so difficult to produce something of this quality. One thing that I do wish you would write about, however, is the idea or function of emotion in a photogarph. The idea on this that I have in my own phtograohy is that emotion has to come out of form, form being the most basic element of a picture: if a photographer is thinking primarily about emotion or mood, at an even lower level, in my view, he will tend to produce shallow or sentimental pictures. People who look at a picture and say "it has no emotion" drive me round the bend.

Any chance you could address this issue in an essay?

—Mitch/Potomac, MD


I'm sorry to hear you are still dealing with your health. I wish you fast recovery.

A. Dias

I met John Szarkowski once in 1979 at a print drop off at the MOMA. I was in my last year of graduate school at San Francisco State University, studying photography with Jack Welpott and Don Worth, both gentlemen of the view camera on a tripod school.
My own work at the time can best be described as shaking Panatomic-X in a Nikon F and previsualizing the one second blur. My prints were 16x20 Portriga Matte with the big bite marks of the filed out negative carrier, dust and scratches and out of focus corners were evident in each print, I thought (and still think) that they were just the most beautiful and perfect prints, and I left dozens of them in a silver taped case.
To say that I felt my work approached the forefront of visual consciousness, might explain where I was coming from (on a jet plane from Haight Street to Fifth avenue), I left the prints at the door and came back the next day.
When I came to pick the case up Mr. Szarkowski came out to greet me, he had chosen one print out of the many to purchase for the Museum’s permanent collection, I came up with the price of three hundred dollars, and in a few weeks a check was in the mail.
Reading his NYTimes obituary the quote "In the past decade a new generation of photographers has directed the documentary approach toward more personal ends, their aim has been not to reform life but to know it" was just so true and so poignant these twenty eight years later. For the few minutes that I met him I do want to cast a vote in his favor as a kind and perceptive man whose purchase of a print from left field was meaningful act in my life.
Thank you John.

Mike, your article about Szarkowski really was a great piece of writing. You certainly have the chops sir! I dont know a damn thing about the man but I plan to find out. Nice going.
Regards, Dennis F. Noggerup.

PS Hope you're back on your feet soon. We miss your erudite take on the world. If I may be so bold re your health. For your immune system can I suggest the following:

Cocnut oil. 2-3 tablespoons daily. (Put it on your toast like butter). Contains lauric acid (lots in breast milk!)which will kill bugs and boost your thyroid a little.
Selenium. 50-100mcgs daily. Good antioxident
and will also assist thyroid.
Zinc. make sure you're getting plenty. Essential for many processes, including immune system. Best with Vit.C.
Resveratrol. Great for celluar function and excellent AO. Keep taking this well after you're well... the fat white mice did very well indeed on this!
Spirulina. Lots of micronutrients
Omega 3. 2-3000mgs daily. Good for cellular function and general health. Will keep that excellent brain in tip top order.
PSS AllStarHealth is a good place to get these at competitive prices if you take the plunge.

Get well soon, Mike.

It didn't really sound like "just a virus."

Don't feel bad about taking time for your personal needs. We'll still be here when you get back.

yes, please take really good care of yourself..nothing is more important than your health because without that you can do nothing at all..Regarding Mr. Szarkowski, as a friend of mine said of his passing, "God is dead, long live Peter Galassi"

I have read all of the books by Phil Davis many times and feel as if I know him personally. I am very sorry to hear of his passing.

i was a student of prof davis, in 1974-76
i am sorry to hear this news. may i quote you and the kind and true things you have said of of prof. davis

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