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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. […]

PRC Founder’s Talk (3)

I mourn the closing of Views, not only (or even primarily) because I was its founding editor and felt a parental relationship to it but because that journal, and a baker’s dozen like it, have proven essential to the recent literature of photography. They provide the historical trace of what’s gone on in various parts of the country, they serve as testing grounds for younger writers and editors, and they function as stages for thoughtful commentary from all of us. […]

PRC Founder’s Talk (1)

Long, long ago (1976), in a galaxy far, far away (the New England region of the United States, specifically Boston), I helped to found an organization that, amazingly, still exists: the Photographic Resource Center. This year the PRC celebrated its 40th anniversary. In 1996 the PRC celebrated its 20th anniversary with a series of events, one of which involved my giving a talk. As usual in such situations, I used the opportunity provided by the occasion to make some trouble, as you’ll see. … […]

Because It Feels So Good When I Stop, 2 (1974)

The language currently applied to photographs as distinct from other kinds of images is derived entirely from the jargon of technique; it is a form of shop talk which pertains to the manufacturing of photographs as objects rather than to their workings or effects as images. […]

Because It Feels So Good When I Stop, 1 (1974)

It is impossible to discuss the “problems of photography criticism” as though they were clearly formulated and widely agreed-upon issues, consciously faced by a diversity of critics familiar with each other’s relative positions, and known to an audience engaged in active observation of critical interactions and the concepts emerging therefrom. This is very far indeed from being the case. […]