Nearby Café Home > Art & Photography > Photocritic International
Visit Our Sponsor:

Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Steve McCurry

I am uncomfortable watching an interrogation that is misguided if related to some elusive standard of photojournalism. … Pressing Steve McCurry for explanations when one already knows the reasons he used Photoshop — to create a more saleable, viewable image — evades more serious issues about who controls photography, and when and how to liberate it. […]

The “Visual Storyteller” Mantra

From where I sit, the most important consequence of this scandal (aside from reminding us that photographers, like most people, will do anything that benefits them, ethics be damned) lies in the fact that the vapid phrase “visual storyteller” has suddenly become highlighted — while acquiring a darker meaning — with the revelation that Magnum photographer Steve McCurry deploys it as a both a rationale and a magic charm that, he seems to think, immunizes him from the charges of bad faith and breach of professional ethics that accrue nowadays to a photojournalist who gets caught doing the same things. […]

Photo Ed: Awaiting the Millennium, 3 (1989)

More and more, teaching artists and art teachers (these are not synonyms) work under short-term contracts of two years or less, moving continuously from job to job. Their tenuous hold on stability is further undermined by the evolution of an underclass of freelance pieceworkers: part-time teachers willing to work for next to nothing, with no protection or benefits. […]

Photo Ed: Awaiting the Millennium, 2 (1989)

Facing up to the challenge of interdisciplinary studies in photography will require much painstaking reassessment of our educational assumptions, priorities, and methodologies. It will also require drastic, even brutal, upgrading of the typically minimal and mediocre standards of research, preparation, thinking and articulation to which students of photography are presently held. No part of that process will make anyone involved in it happy. But there is no way of avoiding that challenge without becoming irrelevant to the medium’s future. […]

Photo Ed: Awaiting the Millennium, 1 (1989)

Certainly photography teachers have done much to develop public awareness of the medium’s history and its influence on our culture. We have also successfully established and elevated those standards of craft which are the gauges for all who work in the medium. Nor have those been our only accomplishments. We have entrenched ourselves firmly — perhaps irrevocably — in the groves of academe. And we have, in record time, glutted the market for art photographs, for career art photographers and for teachers of art photography. […]