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“Gremlyns of Light”: A Memoir

Photonic impaction, the problem with lenses created by the accumulation over time of stray photons, afflicts lens instruments other than cameras. While the problem is well-known among astronomers (related, perhaps, to the still-hypothetical photon belt), it does not occur ― save in rare cases ― in the field of microscopy. Simply put, lenses pointed up appear prone to impaction, while lenses pointed down generally do not. [...]

Cabin Fever 2014: Bits & Pieces (2)

Loose Connections

On Sunday, March 5, I went looking for my shakerful of Robert Heinecken.

The Museum of Modern Art had scheduled its long-overdue but nonetheless welcome Heinecken retrospective, “Object Matter,” for the next evening, March 6, and — having participated in last year’s “Scholar’s Day” devoted to his work at MoMA — [...]

Cabin Fever 2014: Bits & Pieces (1)

For years I’ve told people that those of my cohort don’t have memory problems or “senior moments” ― our models just come with smaller hard drives and less RAM. Seems some new evidence supports that proposition. [...]

Toward Knowledge-Based Criticism (4)

I don’t think you can “teach” wild knowledge, any more than you can teach voice and tone; the very notion seems oxymoronic. I don’t think I’ve ever taught anyone to be a critic, or to sound like themselves and no one else. At best, in my own writings and lectures, and teaching, I’ve modeled that, in an eccentric, one-off way. Because, in the last analysis, as the film critic P. Adams Sitney once said, “Criticism isn’t a profession, it’s a disposition of the soul at certain moments.” [...]

Birthday Musings 12/19/13

I start to feel like the last man standing in my section of the field. Many of those who started writing about photography as critics around the time I did or over the next decade have pretty much stopped, some of them quite a while back: Andy Grundberg, Vicki Goldberg, Chuck Hagen, Ben Lifson, Shelley Rice, Max Kozloff, Sally Eauclaire, Tony Bannon, Ingrid Sischy, others. [...]