Thanks, this is helpful. Now that I'm into this stuff, it is becoming more interesting and important to sort it out.
I think your statements here are quite true. I got from my correspondence with AG as well as the text a sense both of appreciation for the work and what might be disappointment for what wasn't working.They represent a very good record of MW's teachings and also offer an honest perspective of one of his students. By the time I studied with Arnold he was far removed from Minor's teaching practices, but he would speak at times of the strengths and weaknesses of the methods.
I had an intuitive sense of this very thing, at the time, and I know that it, among other factors, contributed to my declining the invitation to go with MW to MIT and live in the Arlington house. Then I went on and made my own mistakes.I do recall AG warning all of us about the risks of following a charismatic leader, encouraging us to find our own paths. I see now how that applies to life beyond photography, although I wasn't thinking about that then.
I had a bit of regret, not so much that I didn't go, but that I had those reservations and couldn't. In my correspondence with AG we discussed this. We knew a number of the same people who had been affected by that charisma factor.
Despite that, it does seem to me that MW's work was and is extremely useful and important, has been pretty much overlooked for a good long time, and now would be a great time to bring a discussion about it forward. It would be unfortunate if MW's work were to remain discounted, or equally unfortunate for him to be sanctified after his "crucifixion" following the "Octave of Prayer" show - which I think is generally misunderstood. There is a lot of confusion about it, it seems, an unpleasant taste, a kind of widespread embarrassment. Am I wrong about this? I know that there is some general misperception of Alan Coleman's role; I am sure that Coleman, too, must have had a great deal of conflict within himself about it.
I get a bit uneasy when the "great" are elevated beyond human status. Like with his friend Ansel Adams, opinions are likely to run fairly hot and cold about MW, and that is probably the way it ought to be. For a long time now, they haven't been running much at all.
It would be just great if MW's former students would begin talking. For one, I have deliberately held myself out and have not participated in any of the public events, such as Aperture's memorial. Michael Hoffman encouraged me to do so, but somehow I couldn't. I think it may have to do with some ambivalence. I don't pretend to be rational.