“Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera”

Tate Modern

By nature, as Aristotle said, people desire to know, and for this reason we love our sense of sight. But since we further desire knowledge beyond the limits of our unaided senses, and beyond the different limits set by ethical scruples and social convention, we also love the artificial sense organs we have devised: first and foremost, the camera. According to this exhibition’s organizer, Sandra S. Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (where the show will travel in October before concluding at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in spring 2011), “We cannot blame the camera for what it has done to us; nevertheless, it has made certain human predilections much easier to satisfy.”

In taking these predilections—or, simply, curiosity—as the subject of an exhibition, the greatest problem Phillips must have faced was what not to include: The medium of

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