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Alternate History: Robert Capa, John Morris, and the NPPA (2)

Donald Winslow’s motives for requiring Young’s adherence to the “he said, she said” structure seem clear: He had the NPPA’s commitments to the reputations of Capa and Morris to protect, not to mention its long-term involvement with Morris. No other approach could sidestep the obligation of judgment, enable Morris to retain a shred of credibility on this subject, and otherwise minimize the damage. […]

Toward Knowledge-Based Criticism (5)

Right now, New York City, certainly one of the major international hubs for photography and photo-based art, has only two or three active and knowledgeable critics of photography ― the same number it had in 1974, four decades ago, when the photo scene here was a fraction of its current size. Pathetic. […]

Toward Knowledge-Based Criticism (4)

I don’t think you can “teach” wild knowledge, any more than you can teach voice and tone; the very notion seems oxymoronic. I don’t think I’ve ever taught anyone to be a critic, or to sound like themselves and no one else. At best, in my own writings and lectures, and teaching, I’ve modeled that, in an eccentric, one-off way. Because, in the last analysis, as the film critic P. Adams Sitney once said, “Criticism isn’t a profession, it’s a disposition of the soul at certain moments.” […]

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. […]

Toward Knowledge-Based Criticism (2)

In my previous post I discussed Thomas E. Patterson’s just-published book, Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism (Vintage Books, 2013), which puts forward the radical idea that journalism as a practice would improve dramatically if journalists actually knew something about the subjects they covered.

Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at […]