Thomas Weski: Interview With Cooper Blade

“I think Michael felt the need to discuss the meaning and importance of American photography with a younger generation in Germany who had no experience with these kinds of elderly figures. The National Socialists had either killed or persecuted them in Germany, so for my generation there was no elderly generation in photography.”

John Szarkowski On Robert Frank’s Book ‘The Americans'” (1986)

I saw it I suppose very shortly after it was published, when I was still working as a photographer myself, and it was, frankly, shocking. I sensed the power in it, and the authority about it but there was much about it that I didn’t like… The Americans was received with mixed critical reaction. Not […]

John Szarkowski: “Photography and the Mass Media” (1967)

  By John Szarkowski, originally published in Dot Zero, Spring 1967 The basic effect of modern mass media on photography has been to erode the creative independence and the accountability of the photographer who has worked for them. This is not a value judgement (except from the point of view of the photographer) but rather […]

Lee Friedlander: “An Exemplary Modern Photographer (excerpt)” (1975)

  Friedlander’s work provides some of the first and best examples of what has become a widespread approach to photography. It was part of the general reorientation of the sixties within American art. Within photography his work violated the dominant formal canons not by inattention but by systemic negation.   By Martha Rosler, excerpt from […]

Diane Arbus MoMA Exhibition Wall Label Text (1972)

She was not a theorist but an artist. Her concern was not to buttress philosophical questions but to make pictures.   By John Szarkowski, Director, Department of Photography, NY MoMA Diane Arbus’s pictures challenge the basic assumptions on which most documentary photography has been thought to rest, for they deal with private rather than social […]

Notes from the Margin of Spoiled Identity – The Art of Diane Arbus (1988)

“I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do, that was one of my favourite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.” – Diane Arbus   By Gerry Badger, Originally Published in Phototexts, 1988 The principal issue raised by the remarkable photographs of Diane Arbus seems not […]

John Szarkowski: Evening Lecture at Wellesley College (1977)

  “Photography is a system of picture making in which subject and form are identical and indistinguishable, in which the subject and the picture are beyond argument the same thing.”   Evening Lecture I would like to address myself to what may seem to be a positively primitive question, and consider in an exploratory way the manner in which […]

‘Like a One Eyed Cat’, Lee Friedlander – Out of the Cool

Haverstraw, New York, 1966 Friedlander is a photographer, never forget. Although a major photographic artist, he is not an ‘artist utilising photography.’ He uses the camera, that unthinking machine, to transcribe his visual perceptions of the world. Out of the Cool – Lee Friedlander at the V&A By Gerry Badger, from Creative Camera (1991) ‘That […]