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Ends and Odds Again and Again

Given that the Museum of Modern Art has studiously ignored me and my critique of its policies and practices for most of the past half-century, I’ve found it both surprising and charming to have my name and work crop up in two separate MoMA projects over the past year. […]

New Documents, Revisited (b)

Collectively, Arbus, Friedlander, and Winogrand revised the ways in which photographers used their cameras, which changed the look of the resulting photographs, and that they made the photographer’s participatory role in the photographic event a foregrounded given, which transformed both the behavior of photographers and the way we interpret their work. […]

New Documents, Revisited (a)

This non-political, anti-theoretical posture denies categorically and consistently that such photographs are in any way about their literal subject matter, insisting instead that photographs are entirely about themselves and in no way concerned with either the photographer’s inner life or whatever took place in front of the lens at the moment of exposure. As a stance, it became not just widespread but almost mandatory among practitioners of this genre of photography. […]

Fine-Art Photo Trickledown, 1: The Selfie (a)

Like kudzu, transplanted to the U.S. southeast from Japan, or cane toads, imported to Australia from Hawaii, the so-called “selfie,” short for photographic self-portrait, has found in the combination of cellphone cameras, the internet, and social media an environment that fosters its unchecked growth. Thus it constitutes a classic example of what the late Neil Postman dubbed “media ecology.” […]