the literate lens

photography, writing and the spaces between

Sad news and a new book

It is with profound sadness that The Literate Lens shares with its readership the recent passing of its founder, Sarah Coleman. Sarah passed away on December 3rd after a tenacious … Continue reading

Featured · 11 Comments

Past Due: An Interview with Kerry Mansfield

Most of us have a few of them knocking around: those old, worn books that we can’t let go of, despite knowing we’ll never read them again. Maybe your college … Continue reading

October 16, 2017 · 2 Comments

Life in the Face of Death: A Tour with Nancy Borowick

“I’ve scrapbooked a fence in Brooklyn,” Nancy Borowick said with a laugh. It was Sunday, the second weekend of Photoville 2017, and the photographer was leading a walking tour of … Continue reading

October 4, 2017 · 4 Comments

How the New York Times puts words and images together

Ah, Photoville, I look forward to you every year. Balmy waterfront, Brooklyn hipsters, shipping containers with all kinds of interesting photo exhibits. Panels and workshops; nighttime shows in the beer … Continue reading

September 22, 2017 · 1 Comment

Inside-Out: An interview with Manjari Sharma and Irina Rozovsky

Last spring, when she got the email from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, photographer Manjari Sharma was surprised. Was the Met really putting on a show of camera-phone art and … Continue reading

August 19, 2017 · 2 Comments

Putting Photography in Context: An interview with Mark Alice Durant

Mark Alice Durant writes beautifully about photography. Photographs are “skins of light…the ghosts of our ancestors,” he writes, but while photography “pilfers luminescence,” it is “handcuffed to time.” Taking a … Continue reading

July 18, 2017 · 4 Comments

Unpretentious: Elsa Dorfman’s sunny photography

Elsa Dorfman is not your average portrait photographer. For one thing, since 1980 she has worked exclusively on an enormous Polaroid 20×24 camera, one of only five such machines that … Continue reading

May 31, 2017 · 1 Comment

Bad Girl: An Interview with Marcia Resnick

One of the pleasures of attending AIPAD: The Photography Show in New York a few weeks ago was the chance to see work by the artist Marcia Resnick in two … Continue reading

April 19, 2017 · 2 Comments

Josef Albers and Nan Goldin, an Unlikely Duo

What do Josef Albers and Nan Goldin have in common? Not much, it would seem. Albers, who was one of the principal forces behind the famed German art school the … Continue reading

March 27, 2017 · 1 Comment

Visualizing Social Change

Social change and photography have always had something of a symbiotic relationship. “Concerned” photographers need movements, protests and problems at which to point their cameras, and change-makers need their causes … Continue reading

March 3, 2017 · Leave a comment

Rockwell Redux: An Interview with Maggie Meiners

What comes to mind when you think of Norman Rockwell? Chances are, that name conjures up reassuring images of 1950s Americana, with subjects ranging from soda fountains to baseball games … Continue reading

February 10, 2017 · 25 Comments

Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Art of Subversion

This is a guest post by Jennifer Cody Epstein. In the run-up to the presidential election last November, few of Donald Trump’s proposals sparked quite as much alarm as his … Continue reading

January 19, 2017 · 2 Comments

Close Encounters of the Theatrical Kind

Earlier this month, I wrote about how photographers and organizations were bringing elements of immersiveness and interactivity to their exhibitions at the Brooklyn festival Photoville. Though I didn’t plan it, this … Continue reading

October 31, 2016 · 3 Comments

Photointeractivity at Photoville

The weather gods were smiling on Photoville this year, bringing sun and gentle breezes to the festival’s fifth anniversary. In fact, in my memory, this mellow photo festival in shipping … Continue reading

October 3, 2016 · Leave a comment

Well-Worn Words: An Interview with Robin Cracknell

This is the second of two posts from London. In an increasingly digital world, photographer Robin Cracknell is an anomaly. An artist who uses film exclusively, he even goes out of his … Continue reading

September 6, 2016 · 1 Comment

Georgia O’Keeffe, Modernism and Photography

This is the first of two posts from London, U.K. Of all the notable 20th century artists, Georgia O’Keeffe might win the prize for Most Featured on Posters and Paraphenalia. … Continue reading

August 16, 2016 · 11 Comments

The Birth of Arbus

There are artists whose work is so raw, so emotionally direct, that it seems potentially dangerous. In 1938, the Surrealist artist André Breton described Frida Kahlo’s painting as “a ribbon … Continue reading

July 15, 2016 · 1 Comment

Faces in the Crowd

A friend, visiting from California recently, remarked that New Yorkers are skilled in the “art of the swerve.” She was referring to that moment that happens when two people, approaching … Continue reading

July 11, 2016 · 4 Comments

Mother Lode: An Interview with Ali Smith

Mothers’ Day is just around the corner, and if you’ve had it up to here with chocolate hearts and perfumed soaps and schmaltzy messages on flowery greeting cards, you might … Continue reading

May 4, 2016 · 3 Comments

Some Highlights from AIPAD

On a visit yesterday to AIPAD, the Association of International Photography Art Dealers fair at the Park Avenue Armory, my friend, the talented food photographer Evi Abeler, and I played … Continue reading

April 18, 2016 · 2 Comments

Diane Arbus, Howard Nemerov and Sibling Rivalry

For the poet Howard Nemerov, photography “was the enemy of all that was mobile and enchanting and fluid and lovely about our short time on earth.” It was slightly inconvenient, … Continue reading

April 1, 2016 · 6 Comments

Saul Leiter in London

Saul Leiter would have hated this article. Before reading a word of it, he would have deemed it “too much.” In the first essay in Saul Leiter, a new monograph that accompanies … Continue reading

March 11, 2016 · 10 Comments

Mission Total Immersion: Laura Poitras at the Whitney

Would you like your art with a side of politics, or your politics with a side of art? You don’t really have to choose at Astro Noise, a new exhibition … Continue reading

February 22, 2016 · 3 Comments

Heart of the Matter: An interview with Glenna Gordon

In northern Nigeria, being female can sometimes be a risky proposition. In this patriarchal, Muslim-dominated society, one of the better options for a girl is to enter into an arranged … Continue reading

February 11, 2016 · 6 Comments

The Power of Visual Storytelling: An Interview with Mark Tuschman

In the history of social advocacy, photography has played a key role. It makes sense: a compelling photograph has a visceral impact that goes beyond words. Lewis Hine’s photographs of child … Continue reading

December 3, 2015 · 10 Comments

A Lesbian Gun: Words and Images Inspire Todd Hayne’s New Masterpiece ‘Carol’

In writing and film, storytelling is often a dance between the narrative and the visual. Fiction writers use vivid descriptions to help readers visualize a story’s world, while a film’s visuals often … Continue reading

November 20, 2015 · 2 Comments

Turning the Tables: An Interview with Sarah Coleman

Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Mark Jenkinson for his book Photography Careers: Finding Your True Path, which is coming out soon from Focal Press (just in time for you … Continue reading

November 11, 2015 · 8 Comments

Responding to August Sander… in Poetry

Stalwart, pensive, anonymous: the people in August Sander’s portraits are identified only by their jobs or social classes. A bricklayer; young farmers; a professional middle-class couple. Look past the titles, though, … Continue reading

October 26, 2015 · 19 Comments

Fall Gallery Hop… and a Robert Frank Movie

Hard as it is to say goodbye to summer (even the sweaty, trash-scented New York kind), there are rewards to be had from fall. It’s the time when summer blockbusters … Continue reading

October 12, 2015 · 17 Comments

Home and Away: An Interview with Ed Kashi

Last week, renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi took over the Instagram feed of the photography nonprofit Cause Beautiful. He posted images and text from his 2012 book Photojournalisms, which had passed under … Continue reading

September 28, 2015 · 4 Comments

Photoville 2015: A Literate Lens Sampler

There was rain forecast for later in the day, but in the meantime the weather was balmy and perfect. A light breeze was blowing off the East River, and across … Continue reading

September 17, 2015 · 6 Comments

Too Young To Wed: The Tragedy of Child Marriage

How many children in the world would you guess are currently married, and how young is the youngest? The idea of child marriage seems archaic: it brings with it echoes of medieval … Continue reading

September 10, 2015 · 9 Comments

Amy Winehouse Stories

The death of singer Amy Winehouse in 2011, at the tragically young age of twenty-seven, was big news. I remember hearing about it and being shocked, and having a friend … Continue reading

July 29, 2015 · 140 Comments

In Love and War: An Interview with Lynsey Addario

Lynsey Addario shows up at Paul café in London in a pink coat and matching coral lipstick, her large brown eyes prominent and sparkling. It takes a moment to adjust … Continue reading

July 6, 2015 · 8 Comments

Time Blending: Peter Funch and the Whitney Museum

Even before the new Whitney Museum opened to the public on May 1, 2015, critics were hailing it as a triumph. After five decades, the museum had left its bunker-like building on … Continue reading

June 2, 2015 · 3 Comments

Boost of British: An Interview with James Hyman

I don’t always follow my mother’s advice (sometimes to my detriment), but when she told me to call James Hyman, I got on it right away. Hyman is a unique … Continue reading

May 27, 2015 · 4 Comments

A novelist and a photographer walk into a theater…

Over the three years I’ve been writing The Literate Lens, few events have screamed “blog post!” as loudly at me as the one I attended last night at Symphony Space, … Continue reading

May 14, 2015 · 77 Comments

Legacy Keeper: An Interview with Mary Engel

The April issue of Photo District News features an article I wrote about managing photographers’ legacies. This is an important topic, but one that isn’t discussed or written about much. Photographers … Continue reading

April 14, 2015 · 10 Comments

At Home in the World: Two Documentaries

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, works of art surely are too. We see them in the context of our lives, affected by whatever emotional weather is … Continue reading

April 1, 2015 · 7 Comments

Reconsidering Robert Doisneau

One of the great things about reviewing books is that, every once in a while, a package arrives that contains a wonderful surprise. And hallelujah for that, because those of … Continue reading

February 26, 2015 · 6 Comments

The Earth We Tread On: An Interview with Scott Strazzante

Back in 2008, I interviewed photographer Scott Strazzante for Photo District News when his project Common Ground was—if you’ll pardon the pun—getting off the ground. Interviewing photographers can be hit-or-miss: … Continue reading

February 17, 2015 · 38 Comments

The Longest Journey: An Interview with Rick Smolan

By any standards, Rick Smolan has an impressive resumé. As a photographer, he has shot for TIME, Newsweek, and National Geographic. As a book editor, he created the bestselling A Day … Continue reading

December 23, 2014 · 7 Comments

Words vs. Images, in Aperture’s Winter Issue

Aperture, the venerable photography magazine, has dedicated its winter issue to an investigation of the interplay between words and images. Are we becoming more visually literate? Is our image-rich culture … Continue reading

December 11, 2014 · 8 Comments

Lost Treasure: An Interview with Ayelet Waldman

When Ayelet Waldman set out to write her new novel, Love and Treasure, it was with the vague idea that she wanted to write about the Holocaust and art. How, … Continue reading

November 13, 2014 · 2 Comments

Ten Ways Smartphones Are Changing Photography

The annual PhotoPlus Expo at the Javits Center in New York is not for the faint of heart. With its cluster of camera manufacturers and vendors giving frenzied demos, the … Continue reading

November 7, 2014 · 17 Comments

Vegetable Peelings: Revealing the Creative Process

When a photograph becomes acclaimed, whether as journalism or art, questions can swirl around it. What’s the story—did the photographer capture the image in a moment of serendipity or as … Continue reading

October 24, 2014 · 6 Comments

Art Therapy

“So, Sarah, how can I help?” Thus begins my interview with Saul Robbins, distinguishing it from countless photographer interviews I’ve conducted over the years. For unlike other photographers, Robbins isn’t … Continue reading

October 15, 2014 · 3 Comments

Photoville Grows Up

Photoville is all grown up. In 2012, when the pop-up photography village launched with twenty-some shipping containers on the Brooklyn waterfront, it was the equivalent of a toddler: jolly, eager … Continue reading

October 1, 2014 · 1 Comment

Shooting High: Art Takes on New York’s Tallest Building

Good things come to those who wait, we’re sometimes told. In the case of One World Trade Center, the soon-to-open building popularly known as the Freedom Tower, is that the … Continue reading

September 24, 2014 · 2 Comments

A Visit to Julia Margaret Cameron’s Dimbola

Julia Margaret Cameron, the great Victorian photographer of lyrical portraits and illustrated legends, lived and worked on the U.K.’s Isle of Wight from 1860 to 1875. This is where she … Continue reading

August 25, 2014 · 13 Comments


On March 25, 1911, the United States experienced its deadliest ever industrial disaster. At around 4:40 p.m. that day, a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, on the … Continue reading

July 18, 2014 · 8 Comments

Silicon Dreams: An Interview with Doug Menuez

In the last thirty years, digital technology has become indispensable. So seamlessly is this technology integrated into our lives that it’s sometimes hard to remember that as recently as the … Continue reading

June 30, 2014 · 3 Comments

American Atrophy

The clash between the bright optimism of America’s Dream and the tawdry gaudiness of its day-to-day reality is a subject that has been well covered in many artistic media. Authors … Continue reading

June 10, 2014 · 13 Comments

Apples and Oranges: An interview with Yael Ben-Zion

“I was wondering maybe could I make you my baby/If we do the unthinkable would it make us look crazy?” Alicia Keys sings in her 2010 hit song Unthinkable (I’m … Continue reading

May 20, 2014 · 3 Comments

Dancing while Rome Burns

Technically speaking, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. The last American forces pulled out of Iraq in 2011, and President Obama recently announced that all U.S. troops will … Continue reading

May 12, 2014 · 48 Comments

Invisible City: An Interview with Marc Yankus

Whether they’re Art Deco skyscrapers or contemporary apartment blocks, the distinctive buildings of New York are well known. We’ve all seen them photographed ad infinitum, from the snail-like whorls of … Continue reading

April 18, 2014 · 8 Comments

Future Shock: Google Glass and Photography

Remember those Harry Potter movies where photographs in the newspaper move? Or the face recognition Arnold Schwarzenegger employed in the Terminator films? According to one industry expert, these advances are … Continue reading

March 27, 2014 · 2 Comments

From a Walking Tomato to Death Squads: Saturday in New York

Art is ennobling, art is one of the highest expressions of human civilization …and sometimes, art can be downright weird. I say this in the wake of a six-hour blitzkrieg … Continue reading

March 10, 2014 · 4 Comments

Paradigm Shifts at the ICP

Robert Capa in color? That’s a bit like Philip Glass going hip hop, isn’t it, or Thomas Pynchon writing a TV pilot? The most famous war photographer of the twentieth … Continue reading

February 22, 2014 · 4 Comments

Bronx Tales: An Interview with Chris Arnade

Aside from a few notorious individuals—Henry Ford, perhaps, or Bernie Madoff—few people get to experience life at society’s top and bottom. Chris Arnade is an exception. Two years ago, Arnade … Continue reading

January 29, 2014 · 78 Comments

Playing the Long Game

Photographs are made in fractions of seconds, but a good photography project can take years—even decades. Just ask Harvey Stein. Like Aesop’s famous tortoise, Stein works slowly and persistently, often … Continue reading

January 14, 2014 · 5 Comments

Little Bigshots: An Interview with Shree K. Nayar

Cameras can be pretty daunting these days. With features like HD video, hybrid autofocus and geo-tagging, photography has moved a long way from the days when a consumer camera was … Continue reading

December 17, 2013 · 1 Comment

Three Worthy Gift Books

It’s that time of year again: the time when stores are full of tinsel, acapella versions of The Little Drummer Boy go viral, and year-end best-of booklists start popping up … Continue reading

December 9, 2013 · 5 Comments

“A Kind of Spy”: The Secret Life of Vivian Maier

Who was Vivian Maier? She could be described the way Churchill once spoke of Russia, as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” A prim, foreign-accented woman, Maier … Continue reading

November 21, 2013 · 24 Comments

Making an Honest Woman of Herself: The Story of The World Famous *BOB*

You can’t ignore The World Famous *BOB*. Standing at around six foot six in a bouffant wig and high heels, voluptuous and effervescent, she dominates any room she enters. You … Continue reading

November 5, 2013 · 7 Comments

From Eye Candy to Icon: Influential Movie Moments

A former astronaut, whose rocket ship seems to have time-traveled to the distant past, is riding on horseback along a beach. After years of being imprisoned by a master race … Continue reading

October 29, 2013 · 5 Comments

Identity Politics: an interview with Paolo Woods

Think of Haiti, and chances are, one of a few images will spring to mind. The earthquake of 2010, with its grisly death toll and survivors living in makeshift tent … Continue reading

October 11, 2013 · 3 Comments

A Hard Softness: Julia Margaret Cameron and Afterimage

The new Julia Margaret Cameron show at the Metropolitan Museum is everything Cameron herself was not: small, orderly, and understated. Yet it’s far from being a trifle. Even in a … Continue reading

October 4, 2013 · 6 Comments

Trendspotting at Photoville

Take a bare strip of land on the Brooklyn waterfront, throw in some shipping containers, add lashings of photography and a generous pinch of the Brooklyn hipster vibe, and what … Continue reading

September 24, 2013 · 4 Comments

Photography meets Theater in Chimerica

When does a news photograph become iconic? Typically, when it distils an important story into a single, powerfully graphic image. Its subjects are often victims of injustice—Nick Ut’s napalmed Vietnamese … Continue reading

August 15, 2013 · 6 Comments

Mass Observation

Where is the line between observation and surveillance, between reportage and invasion of privacy? This is one of the old chestnuts of journalism, and it’s especially sensitive in the case … Continue reading

August 4, 2013 · 1 Comment

Photograms, from Man Ray to Thomas Ruff

Recently I’ve been reading Man Ray’s 1963 autobiography, Self Portrait, as research for my fiction. It’s an interesting read on many levels. The child of poor Russian Jewish immigrants, Ray … Continue reading

June 27, 2013 · 13 Comments

Damaged Goods: An Interview with Larry C. Price

Where did the gold for your wedding ring come from, and what was involved in its production? How about those fancy running shoes, or the surprisingly cheap silk shirt you … Continue reading

May 23, 2013 · 8 Comments

End of the Road: An Interview with Jeff Jacobson

Provia, Agfapan, Kodachrome, Plus X, Polaroid Type 55. In the last few years, the list of films being discontinued has gotten longer, prompting cries and groans from desolate photographers. Imagine, … Continue reading

May 9, 2013 · 2 Comments

Into the Light: Robert Burley’s Book on the End of Analog

Ah, the old darkroom days. Giving up daylight hours to hide away in the dark, like a mole in a burrow. Shuffling from enlarger to sink, breathing in a noxious … Continue reading

April 29, 2013 · 5 Comments

A Novel of War Crimes and Punishments

“If everyone could be there just once, to see for themselves what white phosphorous does to the face of a child, or what unspeakable pain is caused by the impact … Continue reading

April 12, 2013 · 7 Comments

Selective Vision and Photojournalism

If you believe the hype, the next great technological frontier will be in the realm of vision, with digital tools embedded in glasses or in contact lenses to record, analyze … Continue reading

April 3, 2013 · 5 Comments

Jack Kerouac, Middle-Aged Woman?

Imagine Jack Kerouac as a pretty, middle-aged woman. Can you do it? Is your brain boiling and steam coming out of your ears yet? Given Kerouac’s much-documented sexism and position … Continue reading

March 4, 2013 · 11 Comments

Flights of Fantasy: An Interview with Paolo Ventura

Nostalgia is a potent force. We long for lost times, people we’ve left behind, a former self. Or perhaps we fantasize about paths not taken, ideas left unexplored. Either way, … Continue reading

February 1, 2013 · 5 Comments

South Africa’s Disgrace in Words and Images

How do great literature and great photography enhance each other, and what can each do that the other can’t? Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while … Continue reading

January 10, 2013 · 8 Comments

Brilliance, Sex, Hubris: The Story of Polaroid

In his great wisdom, my ten-year-old son Nathan bought me a new photography-related book for Christmas. Never having been a big Polaroid fan, I probably wouldn’t have grabbed Christopher Bonanos’s … Continue reading

December 27, 2012 · 1 Comment

Fact versus Fiction in a Novel Package of Women Photographers

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m currently writing a historical novel with a photographic theme. So naturally, whenever a novel about photography is published (which seems to be … Continue reading

December 13, 2012 · 13 Comments

Weathering the Storm: An Interview with Jim Reed

As you may have heard, we had a bit of weather on the east coast of the U.S. last week. In New York City, Hurricane Sandy came in like a … Continue reading

November 5, 2012 · 1 Comment

Windows of Opportunity

I remember once being shown an apartment by a New York realtor. The apartment was in an elegant prewar building, with a living room so big that I could have … Continue reading

October 22, 2012 · 3 Comments

Gordon Parks: Picturing the Invisible

Gordon Parks, who was born a hundred years ago, was the very definition of a Renaissance man. Though remembered primarily as a photographer, he was a prolific writer, composer and … Continue reading

October 1, 2012 · 2 Comments

Rineke Dijkstra and the Solemn Portrait

Adolescence is a subject that has fascinated many photographers. That’s understandable: it’s a time that’s awkward, thrilling, beautiful and depressing—sometimes all at once. The raw material of childhood is being … Continue reading

September 14, 2012 · 7 Comments

London Calling

I’ve been in England for the last two weeks, and by far the most talked-about photographs are the blurry cellphone snaps of Prince Harry cavorting naked in Las Vegas with … Continue reading

August 27, 2012 · 5 Comments

The Case of the Bad Olympic Portraits

With the Olympics in full swing, patriotism is in the air and athletes are the media stars of the day. If they win medals, they become gods and goddesses. Theirs … Continue reading

August 8, 2012 · 3 Comments

Moved by Reading

All the people heralding the death of the novel clearly haven’t traveled on the New York subway lately. People are using their daily commutes to read—and not just James Patterson … Continue reading

July 27, 2012 · 4 Comments

Lunch Hour NYC

Usually, the New York Public Library is not on my radar as an exhibition venue. But when I read about Lunch Hour NYC, I knew I had to get there … Continue reading

July 11, 2012 · 6 Comments

The Shipping News

Brooklyn has long been a magnet for writers and artists. The hip ones, anyway, and recently, certain grumpy and misanthropic British ones. And it’s fast becoming the go-to destination for … Continue reading

June 27, 2012 · 3 Comments

Making War Personal

In the past ten years, photojournalist Kate Brooks has been in almost every conflict zone in the Greater Middle East. The second intifada in Israel? Check. Cairo’s Tahrir Square during … Continue reading

June 21, 2012 · 4 Comments

Love on the Front Line

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about master printer Pablo Inirio and Magnum Photos in which I promised to review the new novel Waiting for Robert Capa. … Continue reading

June 11, 2012 · 4 Comments

Five Broken Cameras

How do you make people actually get interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? At this point, the whole thing seems so intractable, the lines in the sand so deeply dug, that … Continue reading

June 5, 2012 · 2 Comments

Is it art? Documentary photography at the New York Photo Festival

The question of whether photography can be art was settled a long time ago. Most major museums now have thriving photography departments, and photographs fetch pretty hefty prices at auction. … Continue reading

May 22, 2012 · 11 Comments

Diane Arbus the Writer

Some people express themselves well visually, others are great writers, and a lucky few are talented in both areas. Diane Arbus was one of the few who could do both. … Continue reading

May 9, 2012 · 8 Comments

Living with Books

“Are libraries obsolete now?” my husband asked a few months ago. We were staring up at the main branch of the New York Public Library—the magnificent Beaux-Arts building designed by … Continue reading

April 23, 2012 · 2 Comments

John Isaac’s untaken photographs

Last week’s post about the new book Photographs Not Taken made me think about my good friend John Isaac, retired head of photography at the United Nations. John often talks … Continue reading

April 12, 2012 · 27 Comments

Photographs Not Taken

A sentence can be rewritten, a painting repainted — but a photograph, once missed, can rarely be retaken. This evanescence, the delicacy of transient light, movement and atmosphere, gives photography … Continue reading

April 2, 2012 · 2 Comments

Clover Adams and Photographer Suicides

Witty, clever and rich, Clover Adams had almost every advantage in life. Born in 1843 to a prominent Boston family, she received an impressive education for a girl at that … Continue reading

March 19, 2012 · 3 Comments

LIFE magazine in close up

Last weekend, I was browsing in an antique store when I came across some issues of Life magazine dating from the 1930s and 40s. On a whim, I bought the … Continue reading

March 5, 2012 · 2 Comments

Magnum and the Dying Art of Darkroom Printing

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Pablo Inirio, master darkroom printer at  Magnum Photos in New York. I was thinking about that interview … Continue reading

February 17, 2012 · 186 Comments

The Woman Who Destroyed the Photo League

There’s a wonderful exhibition on now at the Jewish Museum called The Radical Camera. It tells the story of New York’s Photo League, which was active from 1936 to 1951. … Continue reading

February 8, 2012 · 5 Comments

Colorizing History: An Interview with Sanna Dullaway

This week, Sanna Dullaway’s colorized versions of famous historic photographs went viral on the Internet, drawing both admiration and alarm. Dullaway had picked some truly iconic photographs to colorize, from … Continue reading

January 27, 2012 · 2 Comments

The Strange Case of the Nanny Photographer

Like thousands of other people, I’ve been captivated by the posthumously published photographs of Vivian Maier. In case you don’t know, Maier was a Chicago nanny who, beginning in the … Continue reading

January 20, 2012 · 1 Comment

Rules of Civility, and subway photos

I always make a beeline for novels that have anything to do with photography. But in the case of Rules of Civility, Amor Towles’ delightful 2011 debut novel, the inclusion … Continue reading

January 12, 2012 · 6 Comments

R.I.P. Eve Arnold, and other feisty women (photo)journalists

Photographer Eve Arnold has died aged 99, three months short of celebrating her centenary. Arnold is most well-known for the intimate portraits she took of Marilyn Monroe over the course … Continue reading

January 5, 2012 · 8 Comments