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Sunday, 19 April 2009


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My book came last week, and I was somewhat surprised by the tone of the texts.
I expected specific insight into the visual content of images, but found instead it was mostly descriptive of the particular photograper's personal history and style.
This excample you show by Lisette Model, (like that by Tina Moditi), was one of the few where he actually described elements of the photographs.
I'm not complaining, I think it was an excellent investment in photographic literature, but don't believe that it actually helps in "reading" photographs.
Thank you for recommending it, Mike.

Received my copy and enjoyed the reading. However, Szarkowski's selections, his viewpoint and who he promotes has always puzzled me. For example, he selects an early abstract image by Brett Weston; yet Brett's best abstract work occurs after his military service. Similarly, Ansel Adams is poorly represented by a rather typical Old Faithful image. During his tenure at MOMA, Szarkowski promoted street photographers, conceptual and avant garde artists most of whom history will ignore.

"During his tenure at MOMA, Szarkowski promoted street photographers, conceptual and avant garde artists most of whom history will ignore."

I've always wondered who speaks for history. Now that I've got you here, why aren't the Weshington Redskins remembered as the team of the '80s?


I ordered this book along with Helen Levitt's book. Thanks for the photo history lessons.


...and how reassuring that the publishers had the good sense not to mess with the cover on this latest reprint - either in design or in choice of picture. Looks just like it did when I got my copy first time around.
There's something quite charming about that Stieglitz image on the cover.

All the image choices are good; my favourite though has to be the black and white postcard of a 'yard of apples' by an unknown photographer, sent in 1907 with the wonderful inscription "Miss Annie, How are these for apples?".

I really love the old images and the processes used to get these prints. Unfortunately those techniques seem to be lost forever, and no phot manipulating sofware comes even close to copying those results

photo retouching,
Most of the techniques aren't lost; in fact the only thing I can thnk of that's been lost is Woodburytype. There is a small but thriving subculture of alternative process work going on today. I know of people making carbro prints, platinum/palladium prints of course, daguerreotypes, gumoil, cyanotype, lith prints, albumen prints, photogravure, and so on. There's a considerable literature about it, workshops you can take, etc. Pick a process you really like and look in to it--chances are there's a group of people out there who are passionate about it.


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