"You take a canvas, divide it up like a checkerboard... and go from there." - Man Ray

John Szarkowski on John Szarkowski: Speaking of Art Lecture
John Szarkowski on John Szarkowski: Speaking of Art Lecture
About the film
  • Year
  • Categories
  • Duration 60 minutes
  • Producers Edgar Howard, Thomas Piper

Prior to accepting the position of Director of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in 1962, John Szarkowski had already received two Guggenheim fellowships for his own photography, had been given exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, the George Eastman House, and the Art Institute of Chicago, and had published two books of his photographs – The Idea of Louis Sullivan and The Face of Minnesota.

During his tenure as a Director at MoMA, he redefined the world’s understanding of the art of photography and established himself as one of the giants of 20th Century art history.

Over this 30-year posting, he made no effort to exhibit or publish his own work. As he wryly comments in this lecture, “I am unique among photographers in that I have an Early Period and a Late Period – but no Middle Period. I hope to rectify that.”

Once he retired from MoMA, Szarkowski returned his focus to the making of pictures. In this lecture, he applies his iconic intellectual rigor and razor wit to the work of the photographer he might know best – himself.

But most of all, he reveals again, this time through the intimate discussion of his own work, that his love for photography in all its potential is unparalleled.

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