Bill Brandt: “A Statement on Photography” (1948)

Street scene, Peckham, 1936 “I am not interested in rules and conventions … photography is not a sport. If I think a picture will look better brilliantly lit, I use lights, or even flash.”   By Bill Brandt, First published in Camera in London, 1948 I had the good fortune to start my career in […]

First and Foremost, Christopher Wool is a Painter

And If, 1992 enamel on aluminum 52 x 36 in. (135 X 90 cm.   First and foremost, Christopher Wool is a painter and when it comes to the discourse on the viability of painting, he shows us that the medium is indeed very much still alive.   Excerpt from a Wright Auctions text on […]

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 […]

The Landscape of Stephen Shore (2007)

From the series American Surfaces   Looking at Stephen Shore’s large-format pictures of America, it might be hard to believe the images were once controversial.   The Landscape of Stephen Shore at the ICP By Carl Gunhouse, May 22, 2007 Looking at Stephen Shore’s large-format pictures of America, it might be hard to believe the […]

‘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 […]

I Make My Picture on the Surface: Visiting Thomas Ruff in Dusseldorf (2005)

Sammlung Goetz, Munchen, 1994 Ruff’s work is based on a critical study of the nature and history of photography. To his mind, the reputed objectivity of photography has always been suspect, and electronic processing is no less manipulative than the subjective selection made by the person looking through the lens. By Philip Ursprung, text excerpt […]

Brassai: “Letters to My Parents” (1998)

  By Brassai, Excerpts from the intro to, Brassai: Letters to My Parents, 1998. I was delighted to notice in the letters that from the start I saw photography as a way to uncover and record the world that surrounded me, the city in which I lived, as comprehensively as possible. There were a good […]

Boris Mikhailov – A Terrible Beauty

 What does it say about us who look at them?   A Terrible Beauty By Sue Hubbard Boris Mikhailov is sixty-three, has dyed black hair, a white moustache and a young wife. Born in Kharkov in the Ukraine, he has recently exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery, just been awarded the Citibank Photography Prize and is […]

‘The’ American Photographer – William Klein (2003)

William Klein is an American photographer. One is tempted to say that he is the American photographer   By Anthony Lane, Excerpt from Nobody’s Perfect: Writings from the New Yorker William Klein is an American photographer. One is tempted to say that he is the American photographer; among his coevals, only Richard Avedon can match […]

Brassai – ‘The Surrealist Observer’ (Excerpt) (1998)

Brassai always insisted that none of his photographs was posed…   By Marja Warehime, excerpt from Brassai: Images of Culture and the Surrealist Observer Brassai always insisted that none of his photographs was posed, and there is no reason to believe that he behaved differently with the toughs in the rue de Lappe then he […]

Roswell Angier on Larry Sultan ‘Pictures from Home’

Imagine the difficulty of undertaking a portrait project with your own parents as subjects, in which the exercise of critical awareness, and compassion alike, become part of the collaborative enterprise. Excerpt from “Train Your Gaze: A Practical and Theoretical Introduction to Portrait Photography” (2006) By Roswell Angier Imagine the difficulty of undertaking a portrait project […]

Evocations of the Everyday: The Street Pictures of Jeff Wall (2009)

To combine cinematography with photography, Wall took his camera out of the studio along with lights and actors with the intention ofmaking pictures with the look of films from the 1970s that would lend a sharp, documentary style to his pieces. By Graham W. Bell In 1982, Wall took his photography to the street. Combining the aesthetic […]

Bill Brandt: A Personal View (1970’s)

Parlourmaid and underparlourmaid ready to serve dinner, Mayfair, 1936 Bill Brandt enjoys darkroom work and likes to experiment, printing the same shot in several different ways. ‘It takes a long time to produce a good print.’ No mass production. Bill Brandt: A Personal View Creative Camera Owner Magazine, 1970s Bill Brandt’s landscapes are truly creative. […]

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 […]

MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE: “The Voices of the White South” (1956)

  In the mid-1950s, LIFE magazine published a multi-part series that was titled “The Background of Segregation” exploring how the politically-violently-ethically charged issue was playing out from a Jim Crow South to the first fiery stirrings of the heroic Civil Rights movement. Today, here we sit, our cities crumbling – segregation (race, socio-economics, class, ideology) […]

Nagasaki Journey: The Photographs of Yosuke Yamahata (1996)

If it is a rarity in our society to experience death in its moment, our mediated selves consume it daily through TV and film. Ever since Viet Nam, our living rooms have been the sites of death and destruction. Nagasaki Journey: The Photographs of Yosuke Yamahata By David L. Jacobs, Afterimage, Summer, 1996 Where adults see […]

Jean-Michel Basquiat and “The Art of (Dis)Empowerment” (2000)

He was also known to be reluctant to involve himself in black politics, often finding himself estranged from “up town” black artist communities. By Louis Armand,  from a lecture at the Comparative Studies Colloquium, August 30, 2000, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. When Jean-Michel Basquiat died in 1988 at the age of twenty-seven he had only been […]

Diane Arbus: Imaginary Lives, Subjective Projections

“Arbus reveals the powerful ability of photography to lie, but also it is a testimony of how the lie is not mere betrayal, but a far-reaching human necessity to escape factual reality, the human urge to create and believe in stories, to draw mythical worlds and the inter-subjective life’s alternative narrative.”   Imaginary lives, compulsive […]

Wolfgang Tillmans: Faces in the Crowd

Corinne on Gloucester Place, 1993 Wolfgang Tillmans has consistently pushed back against whatever perceptions of his work seem most current. The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. —Ezra Pound By Russell Ferguson, excerpt from “Faces in the Crowd” Wolfgang Tillmans has consistently pushed back against whatever perceptions of […]

Child’s Play in Helen Levitt’s Early Photographs (2009)

By focusing her lens specifically on the urban street child, Levitt revived an iconographic tradition that gained significance in nineteenth century realist traditions concerned with the fate of the urban poor.   By Elizabeth Gand, “Child’s Play in Helen Levitt’s Early Photographs” “The unconscious obsession we photographers have is that wherever we go we want to […]

E.J. Bellocq: “Storyville – The Red Light District of New Orleans”

First of all, the pictures are unforgettable – photography’s ultimate standard of value.   Introduction text to Bellocq: Photographs from Storyville, the Red-Light District of New Orleans By Susan Sontag First of all, the pictures are unforgettable – photography’s ultimate standard of value. And it’s not hard to see why the trove of glass negatives […]

Shopping with Andy Warhol (1988)

    There was no logical reason to limit the collection, for any reasons of quantity or bulk.   Shopping with Andy By Stuart Pivar, originally published in volume five of the Sotheby’s Andy Warhol Collection 1988 auction catalogue Andy Warhol loved to buy art. We used to go shopping for it together for a […]

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 […]

William Gedney: Journal Entries on Kentucky, Sex and Diane Arbus

  “There are two ways of looking at a thing. Either you feel that a thing must be perfect before you present it to the public, or you are willing to let it go out even knowing that it is not perfect, because you are striving for something even beyond what you have achieved, but […]

A Message from Cartier-Bresson

He brought out hundreds of his photographs, some in copies, others in books and still others in originals. He placed the pictures on the table, one at a time, and ordered me to make an instant decision whether I would take it or not. A Message from Cartier-Bresson By Yoshitomo Kajikawa It was autumn, 1996 […]

Andreas Gursky: “New York Stock Exchange” (1991)

  Executed in 1991, Andreas Gursky’s New York Stock Exchange is one of the earliest examples and, at the time, largest of Andreas Gursky’s seminal series of photographs of global stock exchanges which he continues to this day. The original inspiration and philosophy for the series derived from the stock market collapses of the late […]

A Statement by Robert Frank (1958)

With these photographs, I have attempted to show a cross-section of the American population. My effort was to express it simply and without confusion. By Robert Frank, U.S. Camera Annual, p. 115, 1958 I am grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation for their confidence and the provisions they made for me to work freely in my […]

Biography and Early Career of Eugene Atget (2006)

Text Excerpt from The early photographic work of Eugene Atget: 1892 – 1902 By Eun Young Jeong, Michigan State University Very little is known about Atget’s early life. He kept no diary or other personal records. The information that has been published has become somewhat mythological due to a lack of primary source material. The […]

On Lisette Model

Along with Berenice Abbott and Weegee, Lisette Model became a photographer of New York. The city–the place became very important to Model–even her portraits are uniquely anchored to place. By Elsa Dorfman, Ann Thomas on Lisette Model (Published by the National Gallery of Canada to accompany an exhibition of Model’s work which travelled in the […]

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Last Decisive Moment (2004)

Madrid, 1933 Cartier-Bresson generated the type of admiration he both enjoyed and ran away from.   By Bruno Chalifour, Afterimage, Sept-Oct, 2004 A lot has been written, and more will be, about the life in photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson. If Europe contributed to the medium in the twentieth century, Cartier-Bresson, a.k.a. HCB, probably stood among the […]

Tony-Ray Jones: “A Day Off: An English Journal” (1974)

Blackpool, Lancashire,1968 ‘I want my pictures to bite like the images in Bunuel’s films which disturb you while making you think. I want them to have poignancy and sharpness but with humour on top.’ – Tony Ray-Jones By Ainslie Ellis, originally published as the introduction in A Day Off, and English Journal, 1974. In San Francisco […]

Lars Tunbjörk – Alien at the Office (2004)

“When I photograph now,” he said, “I try to imagine that I’d never seen a place like this before.” Lars Tunbjörk: Alien at the Office By Joshua Kors Whether Lars Tunbjörk is a visionary or simply a weirdo with a camera, perhaps that’s a matter of opinion. Certainly Tunbjörk, the acclaimed Swedish photographer – winner […]

Nan Goldin’s Bohemian Ballads (2003)

Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a Taxi, NYC, 1991   “People commonly think of the photographer as a voyeur, but this is my party, I’m not crashing.”   Excerpt from, Phototextualities: Intersections of Photography and Narrative, University of Mexico Press, 2003 By Alex Hughes and Andrea Noble The work of the American artist Nan Goldin, […]

Andreas Gursky and ‘The Iron Cage of Boredom’

The Rhine II, 1999 There is something very straightforward about Andreas Gursky’s photographs. It is as though he holds up a peopled landscape or a building or a workplace for our inspection, saying simply, ‘here it is’.   The Iron Cage of Boredom By Julian Stallabrass There is something very straightforward about Andreas Gursky’s photographs. […]

William Klein: The New York School – Photographs, 1936-1963 (1992)

“I wanted to be visible in the biggest way possible. My aesthetics was the New York Daily News. I saw the book I wanted to do as a tabloid gone berserk, gross, grainy, over-inked, with a brutal layout, bull-horn headlines. This is what New York deserved and would get.”   By Jane Livingston, excerpt from […]

William Eggleston: ‘Draft of a Presentation’ (2003)

It’s hard for me to describe the fascination that William Eggleston’s photographs exert on me.   William Eggleston: Draft of a Presentation By Thomas Weski It’s hard for me to describe the fascination that William Eggleston’s photographs exert on me. More than twenty years ago, I bought William Eggleston’s Guide, the catalogue of his solo […]

Takashi Kawashima: Transcending the Real, Digital Alchemy

It all happened in a second. With the rumbling of a great sound. On the next day, it was snowing, and people were freezing in cold recalling that scene… By Sunil Shah, ASX, September 2015 The story starts from greeting a woman. Recording #1 23’ 34” 02 “It all happened in a second. With the […]

Paul Graham – ‘The Unreasonable Apple’ (2010)

“Perhaps here we have stumbled upon a partial, but nonetheless astonishing description of the creative act at the heart of serious photography: nothing less than the measuring and folding of the cloth of time itself.” By Paul Graham This month I read a review in a leading US Art Magazine of a Jeff Wall survey […]