Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rereading: Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes


By Brian Dillon @ The Guardian

On Monday 25 February 1980, at the invitation of the future French culture minister Jack Lang, Roland Barthes attended a lunch hosted by Fran├žois Mitterrand. As he rallied support for his presidential campaign of the following year, the leader of the Socialist party was in the habit of entertaining Parisian writers and intellectuals at relatively informal gatherings; political cajolery aside, it was said that Mitterrand simply liked to be apprised of new ideas in art and culture. Barthes, however, had wavered before giving in to yet another interruption of his working routine. It may well have been exasperation or boredom (for he was often bored) that made him decide, when the lunch concluded, to clear his head and walk home alone to his apartment on the rue Servandoni.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ed Ruscha's revolutionary moment in street photography


By Christopher Knigh @ Los Angeles Times

You don't hear much about street photography anymore. There are lots of reasons why. One, hitherto unacknowledged, is that artist Ed Ruscha's extraordinary photo books turned the genre upside down in the 1960s. It hasn't been the same since.

In the '60s, street photography's art world stature was peaking. We'll get to Ruscha's brilliant reinvention in a moment, but first it's worth mentioning "Streetwise: Masters of '60s Photography," a quiet, sometimes absorbing show currently at San Diego's Museum of Photographic Arts. It examines street photography's old ideal — a personal style of documentary camera-work that crystallized in the wake of "The Americans," Robert Frank's landmark 1958 book.

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