When people ask me what they need to do to understand the world of fine art photography, I tell them: go to galleries, preview auctions, and read the photography criticism in The New York Times. The Times suggestion was in large part because of the timely, eloquent, and provocative writing of Philip Gefter, the picture editor and photography writer for the paper’s Arts & Leisure section. Gefter has now left the paper although he continues to contribute as a freelance and you’ll now see his byline in other publications. But the good news is that Aperture have gathered 39 of his pieces in one volume that no-one interested in photography should be without.
As you can see from the above illustration, it has a great cover featuring Ryan McGinley’s “Dakota Hair” from 2004. From there, much like the picture, it’s an exhilarating and breezy journey though modern photography. Stephen Shore is “Walker Evans – stoned”! On Richard Misrach “Don’t let the beauty of Richard Misrach fool you. … What lies beneath the surface is more to the point.” And from an essay on Vince Aletti’s magazine collection, “One Saturday afternoon, I accompanied Vince on his rounds and, after nine galleries, with flagging energy I begged off. But Vince was not finished for the day. He is dogged apparently insatiable in his quest to know what’s out there, to see what artists are doing. I have come to understand that his commitment to looking at art stems from the same impulse to collect: know thy culture, know thyself.”
Now that's summer reading!
Buy here and you'll not only get it at a good price, you'll help support Aperture, one of the best not-for-profit photography organizations.