Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow: Essays on the Present and Future of Photography

David Strauss, Author
David Levi Strauss. Aperture (D.A.P., dist.), $29.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-59711-271-0
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With his 2003 collection Between the Eyes, Levi Strauss brought a fresh voice and fearless intellect to bear on topics of aesthetics and politics in photography. This latest collection of 25 humane and insightful essays shows the development of his thinking across a wide range of subjects, all addressed with seriousness and discernment: Sally Mann's "unflinching and loving" eye exploits the fiction and believability of photography; photojournalist Kevin Carter, who committed suicide in 1994, was the "scapegoat for our guilty desire for images of others' suffering"; and Robert Bergman's portraits collectively depict "the sovereign populace on which American democracy is based." The critic revisits the "aestheticization of suffering" critique fashionable in the late 1980s, and contends that 9/11 "reset the clock on documentary images," reminding us that photography is a "medium of mourning." He responds eloquently to images from Abu Ghraib, Tahrir Square, and Zuccotti Park during the Occupy protests. The unforgettable collection is marked by the staunch conviction that, despite its limitations, art has something important to say and should risk saying it. (May)
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