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Once a blog documenting a BA in Photography, this is now just a photo blog.
Go to the top of the 2023 blog for more background.

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Hani Hape
b: ?
theguardian.com - cphmag.com

1st January 2024

Hani Hape

A bright start to the year with Hani Hape's pastiche of Helmut Newton's work and an interview with Noémie de Bellaigue.

This appeared in L'Eye on 29th December, a reprint of an October piece in their Best of 2023 series.

Newton was at the heart of an essay I wrote on Gaze in 2021. This was adapted for the book of I&P, A Fair Likeness.
The essay referenced Newton's Self-Portrait with Wife and Models, 'Vogue' Studios, Paris, one of his best-known images and Jemima Stehli's response. These are shown in the second plate together with Hape's version.
I'll be on the lookout for other Newton originals.

Hani Hape Hani Hape Hani Hape
Hani Hape
fig. 1 Hani Hape from Skura
2a Helmut Newton, Self-Portrait with Wife and Models, 'Vogue' Studios, Paris, 1980
2b Jemima Stehli, Self Portrait with Karen, 2000
2c Hani Hape from Skura
3a Helmut Newton, Saddle I, Paris
© Hani Hape and other artists, their agents or their estates
image source: fig. 1, 2c, 3b L’Œil de la Photographie; 2a, 2b BAPhot; 3a mutualart.com

The L'Eye interview with Noémie de Bellaigue.

German photographer Hani Hape reinterprets the images of Helmut Newton in a masculine version! Our correspondent in Germany Noémie de Bellaigue met her.

The German photographer Hani Hape has tried her hand at a tricky exercise: parodying the star portraitist’s stagings by inverting the paradigms. Her project underlines the heteronormative male perspective on women, and allows to take stock of the masculin paradox. Until very recently, there was a unilateral representation of the female body, especially in art and fashion, and the way we look at the works that nurtured the objectification of women to the detriment of diversity remains a dividing question. For Hani Hape, it’s not a matter of putting down any erotic vision of women, rather of putting the light on this one-sided interpretation of nudity for which women are victims on two levels.

On the one hand, it is because there has always been a blatant and assumed divergence when representing women in a hyper-sexualized way, with tools that became the instruments of patriarchal domination in the last century. “There’s no artifice. Just a woman standing there, wearing nothing but heels. It’s almost like a passport photo, but naked.” said Newton about his portraits.

On the other hand, and maybe it’s the most problematic, it’s this single-minded representation of women, or rather of their bodies, which is obviously far from reality, but in keeping with Newton’s world.

High heels have been turned into boots, jartelle holders into knee-high socks, jewelry into tattoos : Hani Hape reproduces the very famous nude images to the exact pose and detail, swapping women with men, while maintaining the same dynamics between the two sexes and between the photographer and the models.

If reversing the roles isn’t enough to illustrate the weight of the male gaze on women and its consequences in our society, Hape takes a disruptive visual approach to a major social topic. All, with a fine and spicy sense of humor. An exchange.

NB : What approach do you think should be taken towards works that have participated in the objectification of women in our society?
HH : I believe that eroticism is part of being human, just like eating or sleeping. Therefore, it’s entirely normal for us to create an image of an erotic counterpart, regardless of our sexual orientation. However, in my view, it’s important that this happens consensually for all parties involved and that no abuse of power occurs.

How did this project come about? How did you come up with the idea of reinterpreting Helmut Newton, especially?
HH : Erotic charged female depictions run like a common thread through cultural history. From the earliest scribbles on cave walls to ancient statues and paintings by the old masters, all the way to works in the recent present: the world of art is replete with female nudity. My biography has repeatedly confronted me with the creation of intentionally designed images in media and public perception: in fashion design, during modeling jobs, but also in styling for red carpet appearances in the film industry. Here, the theme of the ‘gender gaze’ was evident – and yet consistently restrictive in surprising ways. Dealing with it almost inevitably leads to Helmut Newton’s iconic images of women and their reception – and then to the pleasurable idea of ​​reversing these roles.

I imagine that this reversal of paradigm gave rise to certain difficulties. In particular, finding men willing to take part in the project. You said it’s hard to find a guy who’s willing to take off his pants… What were your main obstacles and how did you overcome them?
HH : It was at least much more difficult than I had thought: evidently, men are more cautious about literally dropping their pants and showing what everyone knows, compared to women, whose nudity seems to be more common. The woman as an object of desire, of male longing – actually a stereotype, but apparently societal normality. Reversing gender roles, on the other hand, is not very common at all: the man as a photographic subject, an object of desire? Only a few are willing to go along with that. But I approached them and managed to get them engaged, to bring their personality and their own fantasies into it. You can see that in the pictures. No templates, no roles, much more of themselves.

What did you learn most from this project? Did your initial intention evolve?
HH : I was fascinated by the self-determined sensuality of the strong women in Newton’s images. However, the conception and production of my motifs have revealed how important the dynamics on the set are, in collaboration with my models: with me, very consensual or inviting, so that we could collectively approach the sensitive themes and poses, with my models contributing a lot. Considering that Helmut Newton’s motifs were often printed in leading media of his time, such as campaigns, my pictures must also be seen much more naturally by many more people. The initial reactions – we’ve just launched the project, and there haven’t been so many recipients yet – are promisingly controversial and enthusiastic, especially with a high level of virality; many are infecting others with their enthusiasm. And my men like being seen this way for a change. I think that’s fantastic. I’ve also learned how many explicitly expressed resistance, as well as unspoken sensitivities, trigger in themselves entirely harmless and familiar images in their usual traditional representation. Even in the otherwise open-minded and kinky Berlin of the 2020s, that surprised me a lot.

Hani Hape has turned this work into a book called SAKURA, a nod to Helmut Newton’s SUMO.
In 1999, Taschen published Helmut Newton’s most emblematic photo book, SUMO – wrestling in Japanese: 464 pages, 34.80 kg and 50 x 70 cm in size. This titanic book was sold with a stand designed by Philippe Starck and is known as the most expensive book of the 20th century, with the record-breaking price of $430,000 at a charity auction. In contrast, Hani Hape’s photo book created in the context of the series’ launch, SAKURA – cherry blossom in Japanese, embodies the contradictory aspects of male nudity in a delicate way, like a distorting mirror of Helmut Newton’s controversial depictions of women. Encased in a sturdy metal shell, the images from Hape’s project are presented on ultra-thin paper, some with transparency to subtly reveal the fragility of the male subject.

Noémie de Bellaigue


10th January 2024

quotes

Kim Lim and Elisabeth Frink

In a review of two separate sculpture exhibitions, Laura Gascoigne quotes Lim,

In whatever medium - including prints and paper cuts - her art was always spare and graceful. It was important to her "to make a clear, unfussy statement of form". Laura Gascoigne quoting Kim Lim, p.48

That is an aim in most of my photography. A Gascoigne comment on Frink's work is also worth remembering when I photograph it later this year

Since her death, like Lim, Frink has been marginalised. But I'm willing to bet her hombres will retain their potency when Sir Antony Gormley R.A.'s mannequins are gathering dust'. Laura Gascoigne, p.48

Thereare good reviews of the Frink show in museumcrush.org and The Times too.

Gascoigne, Laura (2024) Life in the margins. The Spectator. 6 January 2024, pp.48-49.


21st January 2024

quotes

John Ruskin

Ruskin described Palladio as "virtueless and despicable" and his Venice San Giorgio Maggiore church,

… impossible to conceive a design more gross, more barbarous, more childish in conception, more servile in plagiarism, more insipid in result, more contemptible under every point of rational regard Ruskin quoted by Tanya Gold

Tanya Gold (2024) Canal Retentive. The Spectator. 13 January 2024, p.62.


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Ncuti Gatwa by Jonangelo Molinari
© Jonangelo Molinari
image source: NPG

27th January 2024

Taylor Wessing 2024 etc.

Taylor Wessing is back at the NPG, no longer free and none the better for charging. At least there is one smile this year, this from the new Dr. Who, fig. 1.
The room is full of worthy subjects and each is accompanied by a fulsome and meaningless commentary. Many of the photographs are poor representations of their subjects and this raises the issue of why poor pictures of good people are regarded as worthy of photographic display and prizes. I liked three. Hassan Hajjaj was invited to take photographs for the show and jolly colourful they are. I was struck by one image, fig. 2.1 not least for the striking similarity with a visually arresting 1970s rock group.
Just outside the show, I encountered my longtime favourite piece at the NPG, the Lowry self portrait and right next to it an echo of my picture for a degree excercise, shown in fig. 3.

logo NPG
Taylor Wessing 2024
2.1 Hassan Hajjaj
2.2 Roo Lewis, Captain Beany from the series Port Talbot UFO Investigation Club
2.3 Zoja Kalinovskis, Phopy from the series Unseen
etc.
2.4. L.S. Lowry self portrait
2.5 not known
3. Chanson, Shakespeare
© the artists, their agents or their estates
image sources: NPG

28th January 2024

quotes

David Bowie

Melissa Lyttle quotes Bowie as saying,

I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations — they generally produce their worst work when they do that. David Bowie quoted by Melissa Lyttle

1st March 2024

About photography

See also UTP.

Every once in a while I tinker with a definition of photography: they are, sort of, gathered on the About page.

I started a new one a few nights ago — they do not differ greatly, other than in length

To freeze, then represent a version of something as it was. The measure of success at this point is sometimes how closely the image demonstrates the perception of the taker at the time, for they rarely do [1].

Images might be created with the photographer and their immediate associates in mind or intended for wider distribution: in the latter case, a more complex set of values often applies. John Szarkowski's notion of photographers and photographs operating on a spectrum between acting as mirrors and windows, although suggested as long ago as 1978 [2] remains the most useful starting point for any such analysis.

There are two main types of photograph,

those organised by or for the photographer
and those encountered by the photographer,
equating more or less to mirrors and windows respectively.

The former category ranges from the equivalent of exterior film sets (see Jeff Wall) through studio portraits to smaller scale still lifes.

Whatever the subject or whoever the photographer, they are still only photographs.

Andreas Gursky
Gursky, Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
Image: 1342 x 3190 mm
support: 1800 x 3500 mm
frame: 1875 x 3550 x 65
image and data source: The Tate
Diane Arbus : Constellation
Diane Arbus : Constellation
image source: L'Eye

Size. This has undergone hyperinflation over recent decades. 8"x10" or smaller was common for much of photography's history and 20x16 unusual. But then Gursky and the Dusseldorf school arrived and along with them the room-fillers that are now commonplace. I remember first seeing Gursky's Paris, Montparnasse, 1993 in Tate Modern in the early 2000s and it was breathtaking — in this case the size of the print is justified because of the level of detail it supports, but in most cases large prints are just an easy way of getting attention.
There is an anecdote which I read a few years ago (and have been trying to refind ever since) of a visitor to Beamont Newhall's home complementing him on the quality and extent of his collection of prints displayed on his walls. Newhall replied that most were taken from magazines and exhibition catalogues — the point being that back then exhibition prints were magazine-size and could be reproduced and experienced with ease.

Price. At a weekend large format taster event at Intrepid Cameras, Brighton, I said to one of the tutors, Jahan Saber, that no photograph was worth paying more than £100, or maybe £1,000 for. Jahan, a fine analogue photographer and printer did not agree, perhaps not surprisingly. My point, although I never got to make it, was that very few photographs need to be big and therefore a print on my wall taken from the internet or a magazine is 90-something-percent as good as the "real thing" and therefore paying more than £100 is foolish and unnesessary.

Photographs in the art market are overvalued and overpriced, driven by venal gallerisation and showoff buyers. But still, they are only snaps. In Photography and the Art Market (2018), Juliet Hacking, considering analogue photography, poses the question, "Shouldn't the trade really be in negatives?" (p.33). While acknowledging that with some technologies a case can be made [3], Hacking concludes that that model does not suit the market and, rather lamely, that when the business bagan to take off in the 1970s, it "looked to the picture markets" and "[t]here was never any suggestion that negatives would be traded as they do not fit with our ideas of what a picture should look like" (p.33).

I comment on my Gursky entry that "the Guardian reported  that a print of Rhine II (fig. 3) sold for $4.3m (£2.7m) in 2011. Is it just me, or does anyone else find that absurd? ".

Limited edition Picasso lithographs printed under his supervision sell for large sums, so perhaps it is not so surprising that Ansel Adams' own hand prints command high prices, especially the 20x16s. [3]
Edward Weston even so a reproduction will do "hand of the master" or, at one remove Weston's son.

Consider Hockney.

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text

1. And rural landscapes almost never do.
2. Szarkowski, John (1978) Mirrors and Windows. New York: MoMA, "those who think of photography as a means of self-expression and those who think of it as a method of exploration".
3. "analogue photography (made with film rather than a digital camera) usually results in a multiple image, as does digital photography, but not all photographs result in … a multiple: for example, daguerreotypes, wet-collodion positives, tintypes and polaroids are all direct positives - i.e. there is no negative, and the resulting photograph is therefore unique" (Hacking, p.33).
4. Sotheby's reports an Adams Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico 15⅛ by 19⅜ in., printed in 1976, selling for $48,260 in 2023 against an estimate of $30,000 - 50,000.

Juliet Hacking (2018) Photography and the Art Market . Lunf Humphries: London.

author (year) Title. Location: Publisher.


11th March 2024

Tony Fouhse

Melissa Lyttle wrote in last week's full stop. about Tony Fouhse and his ethos,

A decade and a half ago or so, I stopped looking for validation or support from the apparatchiks who run the Art-Academy Complex. I was sick and tired of how that system works and what it represents. Fortunately I’m in the privileged position of having (barely) enough money to satisfy my modest ambitions; no need to suck at the teat of the powers that be, thank you very much.
But I still have an ego, still want people to see (but not necessarily like) what I do. So I had to figure out ways and means to find an audience and to distribute my work outside the Standard Model used by the Art World. Tony Fouhse HYPO. no.86

Tony Fouhse (2024) HYPO. no.86 [online]. mailchi.mp. Available from https://mailchi.mp/756fba5f32c3/do-it-yourself?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email [Accessed 11 March 2024].

Melissa Lyttle (2024) full stop. [online]. substack.com. Available from https://melissalyttle.substack.com/ [Accessed 11 March 2024].


29th March 2024

How do you make a good picture?

Andy Adams asked this on FlakPhoto a few days ago. I offered,

Stand to photograph where you would stand to observe;
Frame it;
Get the exposure about right;
Wait for the right contents;
Hope for some ambiguity. Me on FlakPhoto 25th March

Another contribution was,

Once upon a time I was lucky enough to hang out with David Hurn. He came to one of my talks at Magnum and invited me to stay at his house so I could show him my how I used a smartphone when documenting.
I asked him about his workflow and he told me it was easy. He said that after the basics, a photographer only really has two controls. Where you stand and when you press the button.
Since then I've seen variations of this attributed to him pop up in a few places. e.g.
“These are the two basic controls at the photographer's command--position and timing--all others are extensions, peripheral ones, compared to them” ~ David Hurn documentally; David Hurn

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24th April 2024

Three stories

to catch up with

1. Simple Pleasures : Form and Light : Sculpture in Photography

From yesterday's L'Eye,

Sculpture in Photography Sculpture in Photography
1. Brassai (Gyula Halasz) - Picasso Tenant Une De Les Sculptures, 1939
2. George Daniell - Sophia Loren, Rome, 1955
3. Aurelio Amendola - Ratto di Proserpina, Bernini, Galleria Borghese, Roma, 2018
4. Aurelio Amendola - Aurora, Michelangelo, Cappelle Medicee, Firenze, 2004
5. Berenice Abbott - Sumner Healey Antique Shop, 942 Third Ave. and 57th St., Manhattan, 1936
6. Todd Webb - Sculpture Abandoned in Studio Court Yard
7. David Seidner - Kristin Scott-Thomas,1996
8. Robert Doisneau - Midi a la Fonderie Rudier, 1949
9. Edouard Boubat - Parc de Saint Cloud, 1981
10. Horst P. Horst - Classical Still Life, New York, 1937
11. Elliott Erwitt - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA, 1953
12. Jan Groover - Untitled, 1989
13. Lilo Raymond - Finger, 1970
14. Massimo Listri - Musei Capitolini, Roma, 1998
15. Michael Eastman - Fidel's Stairwell 2, Havana, 2002
16. Michael James O’Brien - Still life with a white feather, 2003
17. Noi Volkov - Vase Marilyn / Mona (Mixed Two Cultures), 2007
18. Christopher Broadbent - Memento V, 2011
19. Sandy Skoglund - The Wild Inside, 1989
© the artists, their agents or their estates
image source: L’Œil de la Photographie

“Why talk about sculpture when I can photograph it?” – Constantin Brancusi
Simple Pleasures is an ongoing series curated by Holden Luntz Gallery, presenting a few of their favorite pictures organized thematically.
This is Form and Light : Sculpture in Photography
We hope you find these photographs as a gentle reminder that there are always simple pleasures to be found!
https://www.holdenluntz.com/magazine/simple-pleasures/form-and-light-sculpture-in-photography/
Holden Luntz Gallery
332 Worth Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
www.holdenluntz.com


2. Hippolyte Bayard and the Invention of Photography

See also here.

Again from L'Eye for 23rd,

Hippolyte Bayard Hippolyte Bayard
Hippolyte Bayard
1. Plate 166 Building with an Arched Entry, ca. 1840– 49
2. Plate 46 Self-Portrait in the Garden, ca. 1845–49
3. Plate 29 In Bayard’s Studio, ca. 1845
4. Plate 28 Statuette of a Boy (or Cupid) with Raised Arm, ca. 1845–48
5. Plate 44 Self-Portrait in the Garden, 1847
6. Plate 98 Saint-Étienne Portal, Notre-Dame, September 1847
7. Plate 92 Rue Royale, Paris, ca. 1840–49
8. Plate 81 View of Rooftops and the Vendôme Column, ca. 1846
9. Plate 157 Windmills of Montmartre, 1842
10. Plate 5 “Bather” by Étienne-Maurice Falconet; Bust, Medallion, and Curtain, 1839
11. Plate 18 Three Feathers ca. 1842-43 Cyanotype
12. Plate 16 Arrangement of Flowers, ca. 1839–43
13. J. Paul Getty Museum : Hippolyte Bayard and the Invention of Photography
© the artists, their agents or their estates
image source: L’Œil de la Photographie

On May 7th, the J. Paul Getty Museum is releasing Hippolyte Bayard and the Invention of Photography, the first English-language volume about Hippolyte Bayard, one of the inventors of photography who helped transform the burgeoning medium into an art form.

Hippolyte Bayard (1801–1887) is often seen as an underdog in the early history of photography. From the outset, his contribution to the invention of the medium was eclipsed by others such as Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851) and William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877). However, Bayard had an undeniable role in the birth of photography and its subsequent evolution into a form of art. He was a pioneer in artistic style, innovator in terms of practice, and teacher of the next generation of photographers.

Alongside an exploration of Bayard’s decades-long career and lasting impact, this volume presents—for the first time in print—some of the earliest photographs in existence. An album containing nearly 200 images, 145 of those by or attributed to Bayard, is among the Getty Museum’s rarest and most treasured photographic holdings. Few prints have ever been seen in person due to the extreme light sensitivity of Bayard’s experimental processes, making this an essential reference for scholars and enthusiasts of the very beginning of photography.

Hippolyte Bayard and the Invention of Photography
Karen Hellman (Editor), Carolyn Peter (Editor)
Publisher ‏ : ‎ J. Paul Getty Museum (May 7, 2024)
https://www.getty.edu/


The Poetry Camera
The Poetry Camera
image source: PetaPixel

3. This AI-Powered ‘Poetry Camera’ Turns Photos into Poems

Today's PetaPixel

This piece could be more likely a late April 1st joke than real.

This AI-powered device may look like an ordinary Polaroid camera. But instead of capturing images, it uses machine learning to transform photos into poems.

The world’s first “Poetry Camera” is an open-source project created by Kelin Carolyn Zhang and Ryan Mather that combines technology with artistic vision.

The Poetry Camera transforms the visual input it receives into a poem that describes the shot that was just captured by the device. The Poetry Camera
The Poetry Camera
image source: PetaPixel
According to a report by Interesting Engineering [dated 22nd April 2024], the Poetry Camera is powered by a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and leverages OpenAI’s GPT-4 model — merging hardware with AI technology. Interesting Engineering reports that the camera’s credit card-sized Raspberry Pi single-board computer capture images and processes them. It extracts the visual data and communicates with OpenAI’s GPT-4 to generate poetry. The AI component of the poetry camera analyzes various aspects and visuals of the photo, including colors, patterns, significant elements, and even the underlying emotions conveyed. This information serves as the foundation for the poem generated by the Poetry Camera.

‘What if Text Came Out Instead of a Photo?’
According to TechCrunch, Zhang and Mather say that the Poetry Camera’s output is not limited to a single format. Because the device is open source, users can choose from various poetic forms — such as haiku, sonnet, or free verse — depending on their preferences and ability and willingness to collaborate with the source code.

Zhang and Mather say that the invention of the Poetry Camera started as a personal passion project for them. “The project’s origin is when I got access to GPT-3. My first instinct was to play Dungeons & Dragons with it because I’m a nerd. I figured ‘if this thing could play Dungeons & Dragons, that would be impressive.” Mather tells TechCrunch. “And yeah, it did work for that. This was back when you had to do prompt engineering. So it took some elbow grease to get it to work. “But I also had this idea of maybe making some camera as a project. ‘What if you took a camera, but it was a reaction to Instagram culture? What if text comes out instead of a photo?’ “Everyone prefers the book version over the movie, so it’s like that for capturing moments.” For now, the Poetry Camera remains a personal passion project. However, as interest in the Poetry Camera grows online, the inventors are contemplating the possibility of making the device commercially available to a broader audience. “After the first 100 times people asked, we said, ‘We’re not selling it,’ but after 101 questions, we started thinking about it in more detail, wondering if we should be making it available to people,” Zhang tells the publication. “But at the same time, it’s an art project, you know? Our initial response was to leave capitalism out of it.”

Zhang and Mather are currently debating whether to release the Poetry Camera as a limited product that prioritizes quality rather than going head-first into mass production. More information on the Poetry Camera can be found on its websiteInstagram, and TikTok.


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nn April 2024

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author (year) title [online]. website. Available from url [Accessed nn March 2022].

author (year) Title. Location: Publisher.

author (year) Title. Journal. Vol, pages.

quote cite

Quotes

[28Dec19] I have been collecting apposite quotes since starting the web site, but rather apathetically because I did not have a convenient means of storing and referencing them. Here's the original page. This is a new plan - stash them in the blog (which I often have) and list the sources here. I'll add navigation arrows through the entries. As currently conceived, the quotes gathered during each course will remain discrete in that blog - I might organise a way around that.

Richard Avedon - surface
Lewis Baltz - style and objectivity
Dawoud Bey - shooting
Nick Blackburn (me) - photography comprises poses and gazes.
Nick Blackburn - a version of a moment
Erwin Blumenfeld - photography is easy (or is it?).
Dorothy Bohm - stop things from disappearing.
David Bowie - fulfilling other people’s expectations
David Campany ambiguity
A.D. Coleman - All photographs are fictions
A.D. Coleman - the gaze
A.D. Coleman - art theory
John Coplans - meaninglessness
Joan Didion - the implacable "I"
Paul Dirac - poetry vs. science
Marcel Duchamp - photography vs. painting
William Fox Talbot - chance and charm
Sigmund Freud - fleeting visual impressions
Peter Galassi - Photography is a bastard
Paul Graham - orthodoxy
Robert Graham subject → object
Andy Grundberg - photographic meaning is contingent
Clive James - cargo cult
Bill Jay - photography's destination
Stanley Kubrick - affection
Kim Lim - make a clear, unfussy statement of form
Rene Magritte - what has never been seen
Matisse - objects and surroundings
Duane Michals - large prints
Richard Misrach - large format cameras
Richard Misrach - interpretation
me - why photograph?
Steven Pippin - inverse sophistication
Raghu Rai - faithfully and honestly
Harold Rosenberg - an artist …
John Ruskin - contemptible design
Sontag - intention, loosely bound
Sontag - mortality, vulnerability, mutability
Sontag - never entirely wrong
Alec Soth - still photography is incompatible with the narrative sequence.
Tom Stoppard - recognising quality
Rory Sutherland - we see what we understand
Paul Vanderbilt - new consciousness
EJ Walsingham - magicians
Evelyn Waugh - first or a fourth
Edward Weston - the thing itself
Oscar Wilde - on masks


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