I'm sure that there are more than enough unthinking and unreflexive 'master' photographers (how would that even be defined? technical proficiency? theoretical proficiency? notoriety? earnings as a professional?) around who would scarcely consider reading far beyond those required in art histories and classes in 'critical attitude.' I look for wisdom on my library bookshelf; I open, scan, leaf through, and sometimes devour books, one at a time moving through the relevant section. I inspect them for their structural approach, their rigor, their readability, and relevance to my interests. You might try that, it's a lot cheaper than buying.
Originally Posted by batwister
What I said in the OP was that this book has a singular importance to my practice, and have found it especially influential on the way I think about what and how I do this stuff. I definitely don't need anyone's approval on the internet (I haven't needed it to keep making pictures), and am more than content to make you (many?!) who would blanch at the idea of reading a book about photography see how silly you're being. I don't idolize him, or revere him in the same way that (it seems) 98% of APUGers do the major personalities of the American formalist movement, but he is certainly a major influence and teacher. What I want to do is to talk about his ideas, the ideas I've generated as a result of my encounter with him, and the ideas other people have; this is impossible without a place to start (ie, a bunch of people reading the same thing to be able to talk about it). I need other people to interlocute with insofar as I can only get so far myself. If a dozen people read this thing cover to cover and came back to publish excoriating five-thousand word literature reviews on the structural and conceptual deficiencies of this text I would enjoy re-evaluating my thoughts about the book, and defending the value that I see in it.
Generally, to the "I don't see the point" crowd, read Kevin's last post again. Read Van Lier's intro to the book (on page 3). Decide if you want to read it, make the decision, and give it a rest; you all sound like a broken record and it's page five. Your collective attitude is to regard him (because you don't recognize the name) as some whimsical hack know-nothing, which is not only absurdly insulting to his memory and academia generally, but a little to me as well; I know that I know a great deal more than you all seem to think I do, and for whatever reason believe that my favourite hobby is wasting my time in tractionless sophistry. Although my activity in this thread might indicate otherwise, I promise it really isn't.
Last edited by andy_k; 02-03-2013 at 10:55 PM. Click to view previous post history.