DH Polarities have been common in both the history and the writing of photography—the Pictorialists versus the Photo-Secessionists, "art photography" versus the documentary, and, more recently, mirrors versus windows. Allan Sekula and Abigail Solomon-Godeau contend that photographs should function as politics instead of as art.
One day historians may look back at the first half of this century and see the photograph album as the quintessential form of expression. In its pages, carefully assembled by countless fathers, lovers, daughters —all photographers of sorts — they may find more of us, and our lives, lovingly and honestly preserved than in any other form.
For Raymond Depardon, twenty-odd years of photojournalism have meant a life of isolation, of waiting for the revolutionaries to lead him up the mountain, the phone to ring, the gunfire to begin. Most of his photographs are of people—and a wide range of them, from a coquettish Brigitte Bardot leaving a hospital and celebrated European artists leaping into the air at the photographer's command to Afghan rebels hiding out in the hills.
Every now and then someone comes to photography after concentrated participation in another medium and produces something remarkable. When Carol Taback, a Philadelphia painter and fashion illustrator, began making photo-boothstrip pieces in 1977, she already possessed a developed sensibility about design, montage, and the representation of the human figure.
There are painters who are also photographers. Then there are painters who, like most of the rest of us, happen to take pictures from time to time. And whenever a well-known painter happens to be a picture taker, those photographs are an immediate source of more than cursory interest.
At the turn of this century American photographers sought artistic legitimacy for their medium by unabashedly imitating the styles of late nineteenth-century painting. Two decades later, their moody, soft-focus Pictorialist landscapes and portraits had given way to sharply focused photographs with a rich, full spectrum of tones and a startling range of subject matter.
I was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Father was a bank clerk, Jewish. Until 1939 — then the Germans made him a street cleaner in the snowy Praha streets. From time to time citizens kicked him or smashed his face — just for fun. When we remember it today we laugh, but in that time we were pale, frightened.
Joan Juliet Buck A frequent contributor to Vogue and other magazines, Joan Juliet Buck has recently published a novel, The Only Place to Be (Random House, 1982). Martha Chahroudi Martha Chahroudi, assistant curator of photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has organized many exhibitions of photography.