There were a few interesting points made at a recent fine art photography lecture in Chelsea at the Aperture Foundation.
The panel discussion at Aperture focused on the recent book, ”Photography Changes Everything,” and included several of its writers: Carol Squiers (curator, writer), Marvin Heiferman (writer, curator, teacher), Merry Foresta (curator, writer), Wendy Ewald (artist, writer).
The room was packed, which seemed a good sign, and included a few photography collectors and dealers as well as students.
Marvin Heiferman moderated the evening and started by briefly discussing a range topics that loosely incorporated ways that photography impacts and intersects with contemporary life. One memorable image that he projected showed a room filled with several waist-high scattered piles of paper which represented a million photographs that are uploaded to Flickr each day.
Merry Foresta, who wrote the book’s forward, noted that there are 100,000 photographs in the Smithsonian’s collection spread throughout the various departments—but oddly, most department heads rarely acknowledge the prints as photographs: rather, they just see them as document of objects.
Carol Squiers used a photograph by Weegee of babies to discuss the eugenics movement and generally how non-art photography (such as Weegee) can eventually infiltrate the art world.
Wendy Ewald discussed how one of her photographs that was made into a billboard in England of a refugee received criticism because someone thought it was an advertisement. Another interesting thread the panel discussed was visual or photo literacy, and that even though millions of photographs are taken daily, there is little or no formal education in image making.
The second fine art photography lecture included Christian Patterson and his recent book, “Redheaded Peckerwood,” Luc Sante, and Michael Mack called, “Photography, Narrative and the Book,” and was held as SVA.
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