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Alternate History: Robert Capa and Magnum (1)

Magnum has straightforwardly become a privately owned capitalist venture, with the photographers as stakeholders. When Patrick Zachmann denounced me in Athens, therefore, he did so to protect his own investment and those of his business partners, as any elementary Marxian analysis would conclude. […]

All Geek to Me

The recent incident in which a disgruntled self-described “stoner high school student” accessed the personal email account of the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency provides sufficient proof that it takes nothing more than a teenage degree of cleverness and determination to access just about anything put into digital form. Given that fact, you will perhaps appreciate my standard question to the “internet everywhere” advocates I meet during this fall’s round of new-tech expos: Is it hackable? […]

Photo Review Award 2015

While this is in some ways a lifetime achievement award, it has been spurred specifically by A. D. Coleman’s extraordinary series of blog posts on his website Photocritic International that debunks the myth of Robert Capa’s “melted” D-Day negatives. Along with his collaborators on this series — J. Ross Baughman, Charles Herrick, and Rob McElroy — Coleman has shown how long-form scholarship on the web can be a powerful force for understanding. […]

APAG Seminar 2015

The most important points I took away from the weekend are these: To make anything happen with a private archive, you need to know what you have. Thus taking inventory, and thereby getting familiar with the materials so you can locate and retrieve them, becomes the necessary first step. Second, to borrow a concept from general systems theory, you have to convert it from a heap to a whole, establishing some kind of order. […]

All Greek to Me: APhF 2015

The diatribe of photographer and Magnum member Patrick Zachmann exemplified perfectly the knee-jerk defensiveness with which representatives of what I’ve come to call the Capa Consortium respond to any challenge to the Capa legend. One member of the audience asked me if I’d paid Zachmann to prove our point; I had to answer that he’d done so with no prompting from me. […]