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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. […]

Ends and Odds Encore

Wearing Sadakichi’s Hat

Last week I finally got to do something I’ve planned for years: have some pictures made of myself wearing Sadakichi Hartmann’s hat.

That calls for some explanation.

Scion of a German father and a Japanese mother, Sadakichi Hartmann (1867-1944) was born on an island in Nagasaki harbor. His mother died […]

Toward Knowledge-Based Criticism (3)

You can train an athlete, a sharpshooter, an airplane mechanic, a neurosurgeon, a computer programmer, and perhaps a hard-news journalist. But unless you have as your goal someone who will replicate a certain set of actions to achieve a predetermined result, you can’t (or shouldn’t) train a philosopher, a psychoanalyst, an artist, or a critic. […]