[Critic and writer, b. 1936, New York, lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.]
Despite having been awarded the dubious honor of arthood, all photography is still perceived as having one foot in the real world, a toe in the chilly waters of verisimilitude, no matter how often it is demonstrated that photographs can and do lie.
There is indeed something omnivorous about the act of photography. It offers a way of responding to everything about everything.
Men have dominated the field of landscape photography just as they have dominated the land itself. Thus “shooting” a “virgin” landscape has been man’s work—hunting, not gardening.
Photographers find themselves directly in competition with mass media’s misrepresentations of women. So the photographic terrain is particularly contested from a political point of view.
The camera was another weapon in the wars of domination.
Given the lack of public skills in reading photographs, given that photographic content is sometimes buried in beauty, contemporary landscape photographers are often condemned to making pretty pictures. Dramatic clouds and sifting light can overwhelm more mundane information. Yet who can resist beautiful landscape pictures of one kind or another? Not I.
A piece of paper or a photograph is as much an object, or as ‘material’ as a ton of lead.
I must admit to a personal lack of sympathy with women who have themselves photographed in black stockings, garter belts and boots, with bare breasts, bananas, and coy, come-hither glances.... A woman using her own face and body has a right to do what she will with them, but it is a subtle abyss that separates men’s use of women for sexual titillation from women’s use of women to expose that insult.