Censorship Redeux: The Smithsonian and MOCA LA

SCOUNDREL TIME, AGAIN—CENSORSHIP RETURNS Art of the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2011 Like the swallows return to Capistrano, censorship of art returns every time forces of morality feel emboldened or threatened.  Two decades ago, it...

The Cult of Images and Celebrity

NADAR AND THE CELEBRITIES Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1820-1910) The poet and art critic, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), who never met a camera he didn’t pose for, wrote a famous diatribe against photography and its narcissistic pleasures. After a long preamble...

Through the Looking Glass with Lewis Carroll

THE TROUBLESOME AMATEUR Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) A Question of Interpretation For early photographers one of the most astonishing aspects of camera vision was the lack of control of the maker. The plethora of detail must have been particularly shocking for those...

Photographing the American Civil War

THE CAMERA AND THE WAR Matthew Brady’s Operatives “My greatest aim has been to advance the art of photography and to make it what I think I have, a great and truthful medium of history.” Matthew Brady Without a doubt the best book written on the...

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