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The Photographer and the Painting (3)

By imitating paintings as freely and frequently as they do, and by tolerating and even endorsing such activity by their fellow practitioners, photographers undercut themselves and their colleagues who object to such infringements on the part of visual artists, abandoning any claim to the moral high ground. […]

Bob Dylan: The Painter and the Photograph (4)

If you read his published interviews, his liner notes for his own and other people’s albums, his autobiography Chronicles: Volume One, and take into account the hundreds of songs by others he’s included in his own performances and recordings, you’ll find him giving credit and paying homage to countless figures in the creative arts on whose work he’s drawn for inspiration. He’s done that voluntarily, and (in my opinion) forthrightly and generously. Which make his lack of candor in this situation all the more disturbing; it’s beneath him, an untypical act of bad faith. […]

Bob Dylan: The Painter and the Photograph (2)

There’s undeniably a difference between painting from sketches or photos you made of real-life scenes you yourself observed and painting from someone else’s sketches, or someone else’s photographs. Just as there’s a difference between witnessing and bearing witness, there’s a difference between direct, firsthand observation and response — no matter how creative and accomplished — to the observations of others, not unlike the distinction in law between eyewitness testimony and hearsay. So asserting, á là Whitman, that “I am the man, I suffer’d, I was there,” stakes out a position akin to Goya’s “Yo lo vi (I saw this)” in his etching series “The Disasters of War.” […]