Peter Galassi

  • passages July 24, 2014

    Michael Schmidt (1945–2014)

    GERMAN PHOTOGRAPHER MICHAEL SCHMIDT died on May 24, 2014 after a long illness. He will be remembered by his friends for his great warmth and loyalty, as well as for his uncompromising honesty and utter lack of sentimentality. “Life is not a holiday,” he liked to say. He was a very serious guy, but he had a robust sense of humor—a big smile and even bigger laugh. He will also be remembered by his peers for his dedication to his work and to theirs, and for his affecting brand of high ambition stripped of the even slightest pretense. “I am the best photographer in the Wartenburgstrasse” was another


    THIS TIME PHILIP-LORCA DICORCIA'S STAGE SET IS MAYOR GIULIANI'S tarted-up Times Square, although you'd hardly guess it from the pictures. The photographer's signature electronic flash units are hidden in a walkway beneath a contractor's scaffolding, which serves the added purpose of shielding the passersby from any other light. An X taped on the sidewalk marks the spot at which the striding figure will catch the flash and come momentarily into focus for the camera, which is planted far enough away to escape notice.

    Or perhaps you might guess the place. Picked out against the dark void, cropped

  • Photography: A Concise History

    BEFORE 1949 HISTORIES OF PHOTOGRAPHY had been essentially, often exclusively, chronicles of inventions and technical improvements, although a few also had treated photography as an aspect of social history. Beaumont Newhall’s History of Photography (1949), which grew out of his historical exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1937, was the first to concern itself primarily with the pictures themselves, rather than with the means by which they were made or their worldly content.

    Newhall treated technical inventions not as neutral events in a continuous chain of progress but as