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February 7, 2005
John Szarkowski, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Saturday February 5, 2005
Bleary eyed, after a couple days of posting this most recent incarnation of lensculture, I made a mad-dash pilgrimage to SFMOMA to attend a lecture about the "photography" of John Szarkowski, and to hopefully get a chance to meet this man himself who has perhaps had the single-most impact on the acceptance, appreciation and direction of photography in the 20th century. I got my wish. He told me that after a lifetime (so far) of looking at photographs he still gets excited by looking at a great photograph, "but there are a lot of less-than-great photographs..." I asked if I could take his picture. He said, "Here? Now?" I said, "You are here now, and I have a camera." "Well, if this is the place, go ahead." I was nervous, so I arranged myself perhaps too quickly and took two exposures and stopped. He chided me, "Oh. So you're one of those modern photographers who thinks he captured it in one or two frames!" Then, with his permission, I took several more. The photo above, though blurry, captures his playful mood, and is the second frame I exposed. Fun.
See some of Szarkowski's photos here.
Now, these new contributors to lensculture...I am absolutely knocked out by the photograph by Tomas van Houtryve on the home page, the one of the twins suckling at their mother's breasts, the babys' hands, the light, the timeless sad story played out and caught on film just a month or two ago... Jeff Cowen's wild collages, with Sophie taking a picture of us with a polaroid wrapped in plastic while she grabs her crotch with the same hand that holds the camera... Michael Wolf's high-rise balconies with hints of the many many inner-lives within... Victor Blue's soulful descriptions (in photos and words) of Guatemalan's finally finding the remains of their long lost loved ones. Jay Morrison's poetic photoblog entries. Adam K's strangers posing with hands in front of their faces! What a complete joy it is to have encountered these people with their visions, their reporting, their unique responses to things that are happening (or still) in this rapidly changing world. My thanks and gratefulness to everyone who has contributed to this shared territory so far. Cheers!