“Whether the Americans realize it or not, his [Szarkowski] approach to photography has become ours.”
U.S. News & World Report
The book of John Szarkowski, based on an exhibition held in 1964 and published in 1966, is an excellent introduction to the art of photography. Photographs of recognized and lesser known artists, sometimes even anonymous, fill the pages of the lively volume and offer a compendium of how the photograph evokes, citing Szarkowski, “more convincingly than any other kind of picture… the tangible presence of reality.”
The book is divided into five sections that highlight the crucial aspects that every artist must evaluate when he takes a camera in his hand. This new artistic expression implied a key creative problem: how can this mechanical and soulless procedure be made to deliver pictures that have a meaning in human terms–pictures that are clear and coherent and deliver a point of view? The photographs illustrating the volume–taken by, among others, René Burri, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn, Edward Weston–seem to hold the answer.
John Szarkowski was a photographer and Director Emeritus of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and one of the chief architects of the emergence of the medium as a cultural force over the past forty years. He is the author of several books on photography, including Looking at Photographs and Photography until Now.