Photo De-Kigali-Voto

Claire McGillem’s in Rwanda (!) and y’all can follow along at

A Kelly Stachura exhibit at the Barrington Area Library

Not my text (but apropos verbatim):

“A scavenger hunt, paper airplanes, fortune cookies, lottery tickets, and a card catalog that isn’t quite what it seems – it all adds up to artist Kelly Stachura’s amazing vision of what libraries have been and what they can be to users and their communities. Check out the exhibit, meet the artist, try the scavenger hunt.”

A very good time to attend is this Wednesday evening at 7:00. The library’s website says: “Learn about Stachura’s creative process and be prepared to interact with her exhibit via unusual channels, such as fortune cookie messages, a library scavenger hunt, books in which you do the writing, and a ‘wake’ for obsolete technology.”

Memory rescue, writ large

The images of images in this video remind me a bit of the nitrate film stock in “Decasia,” but addressed with honor (rather than as found art or a conceptual collage edited to music).

W. o’ W.: Tod Papageorge

“I think that one source of the frustration I’ve always felt about the eventual supremacy (at least for a moment) of postmodernism, and even about staged photographs—which was something nobody seemed able to understand (outside of Szarkowski, but certainly no art historians and certainly no editors at October magazine)—is that we knew we were making fictions. We knew we were creating something, in many cases, out of nothing. Or nothing more than the conjunction of objects and people in space. The unspoken expectation was that an intelligent person would look at something like what you described and say: ‘Well, obviously that never happened. The photographer has, in effect, through perception and response and training and whatever else (such as poetic presentiment), created this, this made thing, this piece of art.’ Now, perhaps you’re not interested in it as art. Perhaps you don’t think it’s as wonderful as a James Rosenquist painting or something else. Yet it is art, something fabricated out of the unfabricated dross of passing life (while, paradoxically, still trading on the indexical heft of that dross). Unfortunately, however, it turned out that most people needed to see the literal lineaments of fabrication—the studio effect—to recognize that art-making had occurred. I’ve always believed, in fact, that it was a terrible relinquishment on the part of the so-called “intelligent audience” not to be hard enough on itself to understand that, but of course I would believe that, given my position as a photographer-in-the-world. It’s been a decades-long frustration, though, and I guess always will be one, because people tend to see photographs as simple, literal recordings of the way things were at a particular moment unless—these days through scale, color, and a certain residual sense of the embalmed that the studio and Photoshop often lend to them—they effectively brand themselves as having been deliberately manufactured.”

Read the entire interview in the current issue of Aperture.

When “Photography” was a new word

Sir John Herschel invented the word for his presentation at the Royal Society on March 14, 1839: “Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation.”

Here are his lecture notes:

I guess my cursive ain’t so bad after all (or so says my pharmacist).