PRINT February 1972

Meditations Around Paul Strand

They say that we Photographers are a blind race at best; that we learn to look at even the prettiest faces as so much light and shade; that we seldom admire, and never love. This is a delusion I long to break through. . . .

—Lewis Carroll, 1860

IS STILL PHOTOGRAPHY FATED TO wrestle forever with its immemorial troubles?

A year ago, a student of mine explained, with great agitation, why she was giving it all up: there was “no history of thought” in photography, but only a “history of things.” During 130 years of copious activity, photographers had produced no tradition, that is, no body of work that deliberately extends its perceptual resonance beyond the boundaries of individual sensibility. Instead, there was a series of monuments, mutually isolated accumulations of “precious objects,” personal styles more or less indistinctly differentiated from the general mass of photographic images

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the discounted holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.