Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/09/03

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Subject: RE: [Leica] New photos/Arbus
From: "bdcolen" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 13:52:21 -0400

I find it more than a little surprising Johnny, that you would, in
effect, say that one has to appreciate anyone's work not to be guilty of
banal superficiality and sniffing ones armpits. I hardly demand
Rembrandt lighting and gooey warm feelings of photographs. You think
Arbus's work is terrific; great. Many people agree with you. I find it
offensive because I think she took advantage of people and held them up
to ridicule. Actually, if that makes me a banal, superficial autoarmpit
sniffer, I'll gladly accept the title. ;-)

- -----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Johnny
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 8:40 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] New photos/Arbus

I am not going to set myself up as Arbus' apologist -- others have done 
that much better than I can -- but the criticism of her that I have 
seen on this list is banal and superficial in the extreme. It is one 
thing to say you don't get off on her photographs -- that's your right 
- -- but if you go further than that then you owe it to yourself to do 
more than do the critical equivalent of sniffing your own armpit and 
reporting on how it smells to you.

Of course if what you demand of your photography is Rembrandt lighting 
and the eyes nicely in focus and a warm gooey feeling (or possible an 
uncomfortable but somehow reassuring feeling of suburban guilt at the 
plight of others who are respectfully rendered in BW with outstanding 
bokeh) then you will want to look elsewhere.

Of course, if you want a triple-espresso dose of moral outrage of the 
kind generated by Arbus I strongly suggest you look at Boris 
Mikhailov's extraordinary CASE HISTORY

Guaranteed 100% bokeh-free.

- --
John Brownlow



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