Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/12/11

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Subject: Re: [Leica] re: hcb and art
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 12:14:03 -0500
References: <>

Wang, Albert wrote:

> Hi there,
> Faceless isn't horribly all that good to be honest although there were a few
> good pictures in there. I do admit personally that it was a guilty trip
> looking at the photos and seeing that those are a historical document. After
> all, aren't we too arched to assume that every Leica photograph ought to be
> a piece of artwork?

Any published photograph ought to at least be a decent photograph - or, 
in the alternative, ought to document something that needs to be 
documented and wouldn't be documented were it not for a single, lousy 
photograph - the photos in Faceless are neither.

 I use my Leica for a lot of documentation for the long
> run plus there are a few very special frames which I consider art.

But you aren't David Douglas Duncan, with a reputation to maintain - or 
damage by turning out crap.

> another sense, although Faceless isn't a masterpiece at least it was amusing
> that HCB who managed to capture other people got captured this time.

So what? Why do we need more photos of HCB? That is one of the big 
problems with our celebrity fixated, media obsessed culture. HCB is an 
artist. What matters is his art, not what he looks like, or what photos 
of him look like.

> like a very long and extenuating chess game.

What chess game - Duncan sat across the table from HCB and took lousy snaps.

> Faceless could have been trimmed down quite a bit.

As in the project should have been trashed prior to publication.

 I would have suggested
> that Duncan include a few of those pictures in a larger anthology of his
> greatest work rather than a separate book. 

His greatest work? I'm sorry to be so rude, Alfie, but have you lost 
your ever lovin' mind? Duncan in a photographer who, over the years, did 
some great work. This is crap. He should be embarrassed to have people 
see it. I would be embarrassed to have people see it if I had taken it, 
and I certainly don't claim to be a DDD - or anything other than a BDC, 
for that matter.;-)

I would think that Bresson would
> be happier about the lesser attention.
> By the way, I think that HCB is a cool recluse.

What is cool about his being a recluse, or not wanting to be photographed?

 I be slick like dat. Damn,
> Duncan should have used a Minox. That would be more creative.

Why? Because the negative would be smaller and the reproduction would be 

> Also, which picture of himself would HCB prefer? I don't think that he would
> like any photos of himself no matter who or what the photog is. Also, HCB
> isn't the all-encompassing god, Nachtway is :)

I happen to admire Nachtwey's work, just as I admire HCB's work. They 
are photographers, not gods. Each is good at certain things.

> Okay, okay, enough of me,
> Alfie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: B. D. Colen []
> Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 11:01 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Leica] re: hcb and art
> Dave - There are invasions of privacy, and then there are invasions of 
> privacy. Faces is not a book of 'street' photos of HCB - it is a book of 
> atrocious snaps by a supposed friend who only had the opportunity to 
> take the photos because of his special access. On those terms, it is a 
> gross invasion of privacy, trust, etc. Should it have been published? 
> Sure, if a tasteless publisher wanted to bring it out. But it is still 
> an invasion of privacy.
> B. D.
> Dave Jenkins wrote:
>>Kyle Cassidy wrote:
>> i saw that AWFUL book "face". what a total invasion of
>>HCB's privacy, the book is without a shred of decency or talent. it
>>a more than obvious effort to cash in on a recluse.
>>HC-B made a career of using people and not giving a rodent's posterior
>>for the privacy of other people. As for cashing in, DDD does not need
>>the money. He's giving it to charity.
>>Dave Jenkins
>>To unsubscribe, see
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In reply to: Message from "Wang, Albert" <> (RE: [Leica] re: hcb and art)