Monday, August 27, 2007

The Treacherous Medium

Why photography critics hate photographs

by Susie Linfield @ Boston Review

In 1846, Charles Baudelaire wrote a little essay called “What is the Good of Criticism?” This is a question that virtually every critic asks herself at some point, and that some have answered with hopelessness, despair, even self-loathing. Baudelaire didn’t think that criticism would save the world, but he didn’t think it was a worthless pursuit, either. For Baudelaire, criticism was the synthesis of thought and feeling: in criticism, Baudelaire wrote, “passion . . . raises reason to new heights.” A few years later, he would explain that through criticism he sought “to transform my pleasure into knowledge”—a pithy, excellent description of critical practice. Baudelaire’s American contemporary Margaret Fuller held a similar view; as she put it, the critic teaches us “to love wisely what we before loved well.”


No comments: