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  1. #11
    cliveh's Avatar
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    You may find this useful -

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Contemporary...+photographers

    Susan Sontag was not a photographer and although Universities like to quote her, I am not impressed and would much rather learn from those who practice photography.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    The Susan Sontag book was written before she had any relationship with Annie Liebovitz. I've had my issues with it, particularly how she uses certain images to come to conclusions about photography and honesty (the most notable example is her discussion of Roger Fenton's "Valley of the Shadow of Death" photo of the road outside Sebastopol littered with cannonballs, which is actually in "Regarding the Pain of Others", and Errol Morris discusses this at length in his New York Times article series - http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...-egg-part-one/ ). I also take issue with her radical feminist critique of photography - by buying into the gendering of photography as a male activity, she not only ignores and undermines the work of numerous female photographers, she also perpetuates gender stereotypes of photographers and photography. I got into a big discussion about this question over on Rangefinder Forum regarding her comment that photography is sublimated murder.

    For a critic, I'd also highly recommend reading Errol Morris as another voice of analysis.
    Yeah you're right about Sontag. Sometimes my brain lags a little behind my fingers. I know she wrote other things about photography after she got together with Leibovitz, but they had no association that I know of in 1976-77. I also don't agree with everything she wrote, but I still don't regret reading this book. Still food for thought in it.
    And just to stir things up a little, how about Diana & Nikon, by Janet Malcolm. (No, it's not about Princess Diana and her camera) I believe there was a revised edition of the original, but I haven't read it.
    Last edited by agnosticnikon; 08-06-2013 at 04:39 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #13
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    You gotta know how the non-photographer artists will understand photography things, and Sontag adds to that understanding. That she expresses herself well is something to learn from, but of course I found things to disagree about. She's probably well know because she expresses herself very well. I had to read "On Photography" in college.

    I'm really interested in photo history more than photo critique.

  4. #14
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    From Adams to Stieglitz: Pioneers of Modern Photography - Nancy Newhall

    http://www.amazon.com/From-Adams-Sti...=Nancy+Newhall

    How to Look at Photographs - David Finn

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Look-At-Ph...at+Photographs

    And, while not criticism, it is a good read:

    Celebrating the Negative - John Loengard

    http://www.amazon.com/Celebrating-Ne...g+the+Negative

    ... and others already mentioned.

  5. #15
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    Philosophy of photography from Flusser:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vil%C3%...of_photography

  6. #16
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    "The pleasure of good photographs" by Gerry Badger, and anything else by him for that matter.

  7. #17

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    I have an encyclopedia of photography, originally purchased around 1969. If I got a good offer I might consider selling it. Be advised it would be expensive to ship.

    Marc

  8. #18

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  9. #19
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    An alternative to the Newhall history - The New History Of Photography, by Michel Frizot.

  10. #20

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned John Szarkowski - "The Photographer's Eye", "Mirrors and Windows", and especially "Looking At Photographs". Also check out any prefaces from the books published under his watch at MOMA. It's worth it to track down his essay from the OOP 4 vol. Atget retrospective, one of the most eloquent and insightful essays ever written on a photographer. On the flip side, Richard Bolton's "Contest of Meaning" was required reading during the initial MFA bubble in the late nineties. While interesting for its contrarian stance to the prevailing modernist, historical POV as laid down by the powers that be at MOMA, "Contest of Meaning" hasn't stood the test of time as gracefully as the humanist perspective that Szarkowski championed.

    Bill Jay was a fun, insouciant critic of photography as well being a photographer himself. His portraits of other photographers are pretty great...http://www.billjayonphotography.com

    I've never been able to understand how Sontag's lackluster work became required reading for undergraduate students in photography. My experience has been that students' work gets noticeably worse after they have read "On Photography".

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