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Autumn Leaves: Bits and Pieces

I rarely find myself returning to a news photograph for its nuances. But Saul Loeb’s image of Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner from a Cabinet Meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, October 16, 2017, proves an exception. […]

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. […]