Our world is in a state of flux and observers in all fields publish their attempts to identify what is going on in society, art, science, philosophy. Two samples of hundreds to the point may be for Aperture. Harley W. Parker in the 1967 Winter Issue of the “Harvard Art Review” looks at the art world.
Suggesting that the photographic medium and the camera’s instantaneous moment for arresting permanence from transience precludes the photographer’s opportunity to reconsider, transpose, eliminate, or augment, the Newhalls have written: ". . . the masters are unanimous: the photographic image must not be tampered with.
Leslie Krims began by being an observer, and only later set himself the task of acquiring a means of expression. He has sought after the fugitive, fleeting emblem of present-day life, or the distinguishing characteristics of that quality which we call modernity. Often ephemeral, violent, weird and excessive, he has contrived to concentrate in his photographs the acrid bouquet of urban life; what Baudelaire described as the beauty of circumstance, the sketch of manners.
During a meeting of the Portland, Oregon Interim Workshop in the Fall of 1965, member Harlan Reed brought a word and photograph sequence for viewing and discussion. Both the sequence and the discussion have been condensed so as to indicate a method of conducting meetings held for the purpose of discussing photographs and to show simply what happened at a certain meeting.
By this time, you have probably received my little photo essay and tone poem. Because I freeze a little with a mike in my hand, I felt I should supplement. I was pleased by the strong reactions. Not that I didn’t prepare it with impact in mind. Not knowing what was expected, I made the strongest statement I could.
During the Summer Reed and I had talked about ways to resolve his photographs. As you recall it was a couple of years ago that we decided to continue the vein in order to master the imagery. Because Harlan was a short story writer, words seemed natural.
The basic effect of modern mass media on photography has been to erode the creative independence and the accountability of the photographer who has worked for them. This is not a value judgment (except from the point of view of the photographer) but rather a recognition of a shift in effective authority.
Aaron Scharf’s slender volume, Creative Photography, is an extremely important work not only because it helps to fill a contemporary need, but also because it does it so well. The need is for a new appreciation of the creative potential of photography to be a creative medium in other than just a “straight” pictorial fashion.
The Photographer’s Eye, full of stimulating images, is the most recent visual and verbal definition of pure, natural, or straight photography in a series that includes Beaumont Newhall’s first edition of the History of Photography, 1937, and this reviewer’s exhibition, “Lyrical & Accurate,” a resumé of which was published in Image, October, 1956.
Leslie Krims is twenty-six and was born in New York City. He is at present Instructor of Photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology. A graduate of Cooper Union in New York he received in 1966 the first Master of Fine Arts degree in photography granted by the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.