The histories of photography

Photography as a medium has a confused and incomplete history. We have the opinions of certain historians, critics, with their precepts promoted through books, exhibitions, reviews. As a medium, unlike film or video, it has intrinsic qualities that are not fully exploited. I think that my quarrel is not with the medium itself, but with what has been done with it, what’s been written, how we define photography. This history of the medium has been to valorize one particular part of the medium only -documentary style-, which certainly exists, and exerts a power. I probably have no great argument with this, but I keep thinking, what if cinema had evolved around those lines, dominated by documentary work, with a little of other stuff around the edges.

– Lewis Baltz

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