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Monday, January 30, 2006

Currently at MoMA: John Szarkowski Photographs

It's rather odd, but John Szarkowski is a photographer.

Odd, because the 30-year Director of the Photography Department at the Museum of Modern Art is one of the most influential curators in photography's history, and one of the best writers ever to turn his hand to the subject.

As an artist, the more-or-less 80-year-old Szarkowski jokes, he's had an early period and a late period, and he intends to get started on his middle period soon.

It should go without saying that he has a good eye. Well, he does. And he's been resolutely shooting film with large cameras in the 15 years since he retired—his late period—and, I would suspect, having the prints made under his direction by the best custom printers. (I doubt he does his own printing.)

It should also go without saying that he knows how to put together a show. Well, he does. So you take a good eye, big negs, expert printing, in beautiful frames, ordered intelligently on gallery walls...I just can't see how any photographer wouldn't enjoy seeing this. Although not in the essential category, it's definitely the kind of show you really have to see firsthand to appreciate. I saw it in Milwaukee when it visited the Calatrava addition, and was even a little surprised by how eye-pleasing it was. John Szarkowski, photographer—who knew?

What: John Szarkowski, Photographs

When: February 1st to May 15th, 2006.

Where: Third floor photography galleries, The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd St., New York, NY.


There's even a nice book that shows off the pictures with reasonable fidelity.



Blogger Salva said...

off-topic: I like your DMD cameras, I´m waiting to see what Leica, Zeiss and Epson show us in PMA and photokina 06.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Robert Meier said...

Mike, Why don't you think he does any printing himself? He's too good for that kind of down and dirty involvement? Or, because he doesn't know how? Bob

10:54 PM  
Blogger PJ Saine, Photographer said...

Want to see some EARLY Szarkowski? Find a copy of his 1958 book "Faces of Minnesota" published by Minnesota Press. It contains basic travel photography of his home state. The Lesson: Even Great MOMA Curators must start somewhere!


3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is pretty much old news. But I enjoyed this picture when you posted it.

I am into "pole aerial photography" and I have a 40' pole I put my camera on. I've been looking for inspiration as to how to show the perspective and this picture is a perfect example. I've taken pictures of parades but not empty roads.

Thanks for posting this picture.

8:43 AM  

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