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Mary Ellen Mark (1940-2015): A Farewell

Fundamentally, Mark functions as a portraitist, fascinated by facial expression, body language, and costume. She treats her subjects, implicitly, as collaborators. […]

Trope: The Well-Made Photograph (2)

When I speak of the well-made photograph, I use that phrase to describe a recurrent type of photograph produced according to strict if unstated guidelines — and, beyond that, a recurrent type of photography project built around such pictures. I use trope similarly, in its meaning as “a common or overused theme or device: cliché.” These pictures and projects resemble each other to such an extent that, with minor adjustments, the images, their accompanying texts, often even the project statements, are hot-swappable and interchangeable. In short, they all look basically the same. […]

Birthday Musings 12/19/11

This year I found it necessary to fire a client, declining to undertake a second rewrite of a commissioned photo-book introduction. Both the editor and the photographer insisted that I refrain from discussing at any length the socially and politically charged subject matter of the pictures, demanding instead that I address the images purely in formalist terms, preferably by making comparisons to great painters of the past. […]

Harold Feinstein Turns 80

Let’s get this straight: Eastman Kodak didn’t get blindsided by the digital evolution. Its middle and upper management of the 1980s and ’90s — top-heavy with overfed, overpaid, overaged, complacent suits — actively turned a blind eye to it. […]

Wynn Bullock & Harold Feinstein in Beijing

On March 20, 2010, the fourth exhibition that I’ve curated for See+ Artspace/Gallery opened in Beijing. This two-person show comprises cross-sections of the works of Wynn Bullock and Harold Feinstein — 25 images by each photographer on the walls, with an additional 25 by each in the accompanying catalogues. It will run through May 19. While they differ in many fundamental ways, Bullock and Feinstein also have numerous affinities. These reverberations made it more than whimsical to pair them in this exhibition. . . . […]