Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


Home · Articles · News · Art · The Lost World
. . . .

The Lost World

Robert Downes - January 15th, 2004
Photographers were my heroes during my college days in the mid-‘70s, minoring in photojournalism. By then, many of photojournalists believed that photography had eclipsed the arid, minimalism of the painting arts, bringing a power to fathom the depths of the human soul and perhaps even change the world.
Photographers weren‘t just heroes, they were legends, still quivering with energy from the spent days of Life magazine, which made photography an essential weekly glimpse of the world in many American households before its death at the hands of television. Henri Cartier-Bresson introduced the idea of the “decisive moment“ in capturing some split-second insight into the human soul. W. Eugene Smith taught that “depth of feeling is more important than depth of field“ in his Rembrantesque photo essays from battlefields or the backhills of Appalachia. Irving Penn captured the mystery of the self, isolating subjects such as the New Guinea mudmen or Paris fashion models before a portable backdrop he took all over the world. Jerry Uelsmann twisted nature into Dali-like hallucinations of space and time with multiple exposure darkroom techniques. Ansel Adams and Minor White explored the mysteries of the Zone system, turning black & white photos into a palette of tones glorifying the spirit of nature.
You can capture a glimpse of that glory at an exhibit appearing at the Dennos Museum Center through March 7: “The Thing Itself: Daguerreotype to Digital.“
“The Thing Itself“ includes all of the above-mentioned photographers and many more masters of the art, including Diane Arbus, Edward Weston, Minor White, Walker Evans, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams and many others.
Any one of the photographers at the Dennos might merit a full exhibition of their own, so what the Dennos provides is a gourmet‘s plate of appetizers, with a choice bite from each master of the art. The exhibit also reminds us of what has been irrevocably lost in the digital age: today‘s photographers can download the “decisive moment“ from the rolling stock of digital cameras, or recreate fantasy worlds at the helm of a computer equipped with Photoshop. There‘s no element of genius, insight or initiative involved compared to what the masters of the art created with sweat behind the viewfinder and under a darkroom‘s red glare using silver nitrates, Dektol and fixer.
Standing alone, “The Thing Itself: Daguerreotype to Digital,“ would be well worth any photographer‘s visit, but combined with an exhibit of the Hubbell Space Telescope photos and the rock music photography of Tom Wright, the current Dennos line-up is an absolute must for anyone who‘s ever been transfixed by the photographic arts.

-- by Robert Downes
 
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