Charlie Rose talks with John Szarkowski about his own photography, and my experience being critiqued by the director of photography from the Museum of Modern Art.

Conversation with John Szarkowski -click to watch video

I had the privilege of having my photographs critiqued by John Szarkowski on a few occasions when I wan an undergrad at Cornell University between 1984 and 1988. Szarkowski held the position of director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 1962 to 1991, succeeding Edward Steichen in that role. It was a wonderful and humbling experience.  We was never mean, but he was brutally honest when picking apart exactly why your images or didn’t work. When a photograph worked, he offered up no praise, but for a grunt of approval and a sideways glance before moving on to the next image.

"Grip" 1986

Here is one he that got the grunt and sideways glance of approval.

"Barn Cat" 1985

This one was bashed for being sentimental and too much contrast.

"Barbed Wire" 1986

This one was dismissed as being too theatrical and poorly exposed.

Here is more information about John Szarkowski and the book of his own photogaphy from 2005.  The article is from Lens Culture, and you should follow them.

Here is An Article from Lens Culture about John Szarkowski’s book of his own photography.

John Szarkowski, Schoolhouse, Town of Lincoln, Bayfield County, Wisconsin, 1949; gelatin silver print; courtesy the photographer and Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York; © John Szarkowski (Plate # 6)

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~ by Stephen Sheffield on February 11, 2010.

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