Duane Michals

International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

In Duane MichalsChance Meeting, 1970, two men pass each other in an alley. In the ensuing scenes, one turns to look, only to see the other’s back. Finally, the latter turns back, missing the former’s glance but meeting ours. “The Duane Michals Show,” Michals’ first retrospective in the United States, presented an opportunity to have more than just a “chance meeting” with his camera lens and pen. For Michals, the camera is like a clock: it cannot capture time, but only mark its passage—photography records the path of Xeno’s arrow, approaching infinity but never reaching its mark. The accumulation of images, whether those of his own oeuvre or of the history of photography itself, represents a piling up of the past toward a never complete picture of reality.

The succession of images in Things Are Queer, 1973, explores the degree to which the camera is able to record reality. As each frame

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