Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2008/11/28

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Subject: [Leica] Sam Abel/ Richard Prince
From: imagist3 at (Lottermoser George)
Date: Fri Nov 28 10:34:53 2008
References: <>

This divide
between documentary and fine art photography
does not hold up (except within individual minds).
Steichen and MOMA mounted the "Family of Man" Exhibit in 1955.

As a young photographer (circa '67 or '68)
I took a documentary portfolio
titled "Light on poverty in Appalachia"
to the Milwaukee Art Museum
and was told by the photo curator,
"This is not Art fit for the home."
I felt devastated.

Danny Lyon and many other documentary photographers
exhibited in museums and galleries back then
Since that time
MAM has shown many documentary exhibits.

Many of the museums and galleries
simply don't get it until your "Name"
has grown some "significance" around it.

Often it's the subject matter in relationship to the place, times and  
Poverty (in Appalachia) was off the table in 1967 in Milwaukee.

Without doubt a difference exists
between 'news, editorial, documentary and art photography.
Determining whether a documentary photograph (or photographer)
has crossed into the realm of "Art"
requires a sure footed intelligence
on the part of the curator, director or editor.
Most curators and directors simply follow the waves and trends.
Steichen, Stieglitz, Szarkowski and their ilk strike out and set  
trends rather than follow them; they're rare.

Fond regards,

On Nov 28, 2008, at 11:39 AM, Alan Magayne-Roshak wrote:

> Once I was rejected for a photo show at a Racine, Wis. museum,
> and when I attended the opening and was talking to the director, he  
> indicated with his hands
> that art photography was "up here", and journalistic pictures were  
> "down there".  I was not
> impressed with a lot of the photos that ended up on the walls.

In reply to: Message from amr3 at (Alan Magayne-Roshak) ([Leica] Sam Abel/ Richard Prince)