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Monday, 07 June 2021

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Love the Leica "catch"...I actually see this all the time in TV shows! The recent PBS show "Atlantic Crossing", about Norway in the run-up and era of WWII, kept having a news guy showing up in a group photographing with a Super Graphic (1958)! Caught it right away, might as well have been digital!

[That happens a lot on TV and in movies, doesn't it? It's almost as if the camera props are only symbols, and just need to telegraph "here we have a photographer taking pictures" to the audience. It's a convention, like bloodless bullet wounds in the 1950s. The affected character just clutched his body in the location of the wound, froze as if stricken, then slowly sank to the ground. Looks odd today. Of course they go to the opposite extreme now!


One example I remember was a digital point-and-shoot that had the sound of a mechanical film SLR and a motor drive grafted on to it. The motor drive sound after the shutter sound made me laugh. One of the crime-investigation shows used to constantly change the make and model of the cameras the technician characters used to document evidence; my guess was that the producers didn't want to inadvertently create a de facto "product placement" for a single brand of camera, although that's just a guess. Even within single episodes the same technician might use different cameras from scene to scene. Maybe the technicians were all camera collectors. --Mike
]

Disgusted by political themes? Damn aren’t we all?

On the secondary topic of quotes and the lack of an authoritative database, have you ever tried QuoteInvestigator.com? Or you have and found it lacking in scholarship?

This is one of my favourite Bacon quotes: “If a man look sharp and attentively, he shall see fortune; for though she be blind, she is not invisible”


I’ve walked so many streets looking for her, without success, that I’m starting to suspect that I’m the one who’s blind

The biography of Lange is great as is the documentary of her - Grab a Hunk of Lightening where she actually talks about her life and work. I recommend those.

It seems to me that the era of the 'famous photographer' has passed. Everyone's a photographer now and so many pictures are circulated every day that most contemporary images are quickly forgotten and nobody cares who took them in the first place.

If Ansel, Dorothea and Imogen had emerged in the early decades of the 21st century rather than the 20th, how would they be remembered in the early 22nd century? Blogger, Twitterer, internet influencer, YouTuber, radical activist, talk show host?

On the subject of sourcing quotations, in one of my earliest attempts at a book-length sequence of photographs, I made extensive use of what seemed like suitable quotations to break it up a bit. I liked the idea of texts being used in a visual book in the way illustrations are used in regular, text-heavy books. One of these was a quotation from Goethe I had come across in John Berger's essay on the photographer August Sander: "There is a tender empiricism that makes itself so inwardly identical with the object that it thereby becomes true theory".

In fact, Berger is actually citing the Frankfurt School writer and critic Walter Benjamin who is also writing about Sander, and only incidentally quoting Goethe. But Berger doesn't identify his source, so I first had to identify the Benjamin essay: after a bit of hunting, it turned out to be his "Kleine Geschichte der Photographie". OK! But Benjamin in turn fails to identify the source of his Goethe quotation. Doh!

After much burrowing around in Goethe's work, it eventually turned out to be one of his collected "Maximen und Reflexionen", which itself had apparently been extracted from his own novel "Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre":

Es gibt eine zarte Empirie, die sich mit dem Gegenstand innigst identisch macht, und dadurch zur eigentlichen Theorie wird.(Maximen und Reflexionen 509)

Phew. I suppose a more thorough scholar might have (may already have) gone on to trace Goethe's source, and so on, receding into classical antiquity, but that was good enough for me; at least I knew who and what I was really quoting, where it came from, and what its context was.

Mike

Well, for old quotations Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is still out there. In fact, they've just released an updated 18th edition, so some of the new quotes will be there as well.

Of course, with vastly more people having access to the old texts than used to, a lot of gems are being ferreted out that weren't previously "familiar"; not finding a quote in Bartlett's doesn't make it false, but finding it there does strongly suggest it's right.

Does Wikiquote qualify?


HaJe

Re Mark Sampson's quote: it's from Bacon's Novum Organum, section CXXIX, second from last paragraph.

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