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Saturday, 20 September 2014


"This is the downside to an estate inheriting the copyright of their ancestors' photographs."

I seem to recall that David Leland Hyde, son of Philip Hyde, had fight a museum or university for access to his father's work because it wasn't being displayed or sold.

I could be way wrong on that.

And then there's Vivian Meir's work, which now is the point of a legal struggle over possession.

Makes me wonder what will happen to my work once I die. Other than become way more valuable than it is now, of course.

sure. or do a Brett Weston and burn them.

if you believe in anything similar to our current copyright laws, you have to accept that the creators of some works, or the later owners of those works, may never grant you rights.

it's not just an estate issue - suppose Arbus had sold all the image rights to somebody else, who tried to maximize dollar value by only selling 1 print a year and never allowing reproduction? all those people writing books about pictures with no pictures in them would drive up the value of that one print a year.

"… any museum contemplating a retrospective had to enlist her active collaboration. In almost all cases, permission was denied."

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis did run a retrospective of Diane Arbus in 2006, and it was stunning. Doon may be stingy with her mother's legacy but she holds it to a very high standard.

I don't know if William Todd Schultz had my comment in mind when he wrote the above. However, let me clarify a point. I do not in any way object to interpretation of art - whether I agree with the interpretation or not. We all do it. Its how we relate to the art. My objection is to the psychoanalytic dissection of the artist. This is a totally different thing from interpreting the art. It requires assumptions, and theoretical assessments that are scientifically questionable at best, highly personal, and can represent more of the analyst's psyche than that of the subject. That latter is my point.

Given that I'm the guy who seems to have started the little hate-on about speculation, I should probably respond.

Speculation is fun. Lots of fun. I love to speculate about art with my friends. But art books are expensive, and I do not love it so much that I'm willing to pay for the privilege of having a stranger do speculate at me.

Art should not stand alone, divorced from meaning or context. In fact, I said just the opposite: that I longed for the day when art publishers would jettison endless speculative blather in favor of a concise presentation of the facts (i.e. context) of the art, followed by a respectful presentation of the art itself. Meaning is the reader's job, not the author's.

When I buy an art book that turns out to be a word book with pictures, I feel like I've made a bad purchase. The authors should've written a biography or an academic paper, not an art book.

When I buy an art book that turns out to be a word book with pictures and those words are more fancy than fact, I feel like I've robbed. Inventing thoughts, feelings, motivations, and events for historical figures is one of two things: lying or fiction, neither of which are what I want from an art book.

People who write art books should do do four things:

1) Present facts.

2) Build context with those fact.

3) Talk about aesthetics, if they absolutely must.

4) Let the reader apply the facts, context, and aesthetic commentary to the artwork in question.

Looks pretty good, but I find the 24-75mm zoom range a bit limiting for a fixed lens camera, and I don't like those tiny clip on flashes. Also, this camera needs to be carried in a bag, so it's not what I was expecting from an LX camera.

I have an LX3 which I loved but don't use anymore due to the so-so IQ compared to modern compacts, and I'm still waiting for a true successor of the LX line, i.e. a pocketable one. I've been tempted by the LX7 many times, but the sensor is just too small. If Panasonic come up with the rumoured LX8 with a 1" sensor in a pocketable size, I'll be all over it.

One more reply, mostly to James. In my books I don't invent anything, but I do sometimes infer, as we all do all day long whenever we wonder why someone said or did something, right? So take this example. Arbus said her triplets shots reminded her of herself. That is a fact. That is what she said. Now, if I were writing a biography, I might stop there (and it sounds like that is what you'd--James--prefer). But since I am trying to get at the subjective origins of her artistic themes and preoccupations, I ask myself: what did she mean when she said triplets remind her of herself? Do I make up some reason, whatever reason I like? No. I go to the evidence of her life, see what else she said about the shot, see what else she said about similar shots, examine other similar shots, find out what others said about her triplet shots (especially others who knew her very well), then i suggest a provisional reason. I don't see anything objectionable in that. Like I said, we all do this all the time in real life. We make educated guesses about what people meant. But we have a lot less data to go on usually. In the case of famous artists like Arbus, the data are mountainous.

I think I do all the four things James lists, but I also propose possible motivations, BASED on those four things. Could I be wrong in what I propose? Yes. Do I think I could also be right? Yes. Do I believe it is impossible to ever correctly infer a set of motives? No. Do I think there is one motive behind every act? Never. Do I believe the motives behind the making of art are categorically more mysterious, exotic, and unknowable than the motives behind the making of other things? Not usually.

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