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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. […]

Paul Diamond (1942-2017): A Farewell

Over the years, Paul collaborated with me to help make numerous photographs — some of my favorites … He enjoyed modeling. We had a 50-year-long conversation about photography’s evolution, craft, and odd politics. Neither of us had formally studied photography. We taught each other. […]

On the Spiritual in Teaching, 1997 (c)

I may have done my students at New York University a disservice in my final years there, coming to see them as pampered rich kids (which they were, with few exceptions) without also recognizing that even wealth and privilege did not protect them any longer from the stupefying tendencies of the system, which now runs so amok that it appears hellbent on dumbing down everything and everyone, even the offspring of the ruling class presumably groomed to inherit power. […]

On the Spiritual in Teaching, 1997 (b)

When I stepped into Prof. Leonard Albert’s classroomat Hunter College in the Bronx in September 1960 he handed out to all of us a clear understanding of the origins and evolution of the very language we spoke and wrote yet in so many ways took for granted, and in doing so changed my life. […]