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Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (c)

“A Day in the Life of America” was a classic bait-and-switch maneuver, directing the public gaze toward nonsense images while the Reagan administration savagely attacked ordinary working people. Lacking spontaneity, decontextualized, and bordering on puffery, the artless Day in the Life of America remains arguably the most embarrassing collection of images in the annals of photography. […]

Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (b)

With great hubris, Rick Smolan and David Cohen were going to reinvent photojournalism. The first tactic of this radical makeover: ignore conventional reportage by dispersing photographers to randomly selected venues and inviting them to burn as much film as possible in a 24-hour period. […]

Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (a)

The Collins “Day in the Life of …” series of books was the first spectacular disruption aimed at transforming professional photographers into undervalued content providers, the unfortunate state of affairs that today confronts those wishing to make a career of making images. […]

Susan Sontag: Off Photography (2)

One of the book’s most undermining weaknesses and chief disappointments, beyond its lack of foundation in photography’s morphology and hermeneutics, is its scanting of applied exegetics — the consistent refusal to address bodies of work and single images, the primary works in the medium. […]

Susan Sontag: Off Photography (1)

Since being impressive to a non-knowledgeable audience is a natural consequence of her choice of style, tone, stance, and pace, one can presume that to be Sontag’s intent. Similarly, since to anyone with a background in photography Sontag’s grasp of the medium’s morphology is (to be charitable) shaky, and her ideas almost entirely received, one can equally presume that — except as an aggressive act — the book is not meant to be taken seriously by an audience versed in photography, visual art, or visual communication. […]