Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Art · The Lost World
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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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