Letters

Letters 08-25-14

Save America

I read your paper because it’s free and I enjoy the ads. But I struggle through the left wing tripe that fills every page, from political cartoons to the vitriolic pen of Mr. Tuttle. What a shame this beautiful area of the state has such an abundance of Socialist/democrats. Or perhaps the silent majority chooses to stay silent...

Doom, Yet a Cup Half Full

In the news we are told of the civil unrest at Ferguson, Mo; ISIS war radicals in Iraq and Syria; the great corporate tax heist at home. You name it. Trouble, trouble, everywhere. It seems to me the U.S. Congress is partially to blame...

Uncomfortable Questions

defending the positions of the Israelis vs Hamas are far too narrow. Even Mr. Tuttle seems to have failed in looking deeply into the divide. American media is not biased against Israel, nor or are they pro Palestine or Hamas...

The Evolution of Man Revisited

As the expectations of manhood evolve, so too do the rules of love. In Mr. Holmes’s statement [from “Our Therapist Will See Us Now” in last week’s issue] he narrows the key to a successful relationship to the basic need to have your wants and needs understood, and it is on this point I expand...

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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