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» » Between the Eyes: Essays On Photography And Politics
Between the Eyes: Essays On Photography And Politics


John Berger,David Strauss,Diana Stoll


Between the Eyes: Essays On Photography And Politics


Arts & Photography

PDF ebook size:

1689 kb

ePub ebook size:

1645 kb

Fb2 ebook size:

1416 kb

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Aperture (August 15, 2005)




Photography and Video



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Between the Eyes: Essays On Photography And Politics by John Berger,David Strauss,Diana Stoll

David Levi Strauss is a writer whose visual and intellectual sensibilities are both acute and expansive. His trenchant writings on photography and photographers have been collected for this volume from a broad range of magazines, including Aperture, Artforum and The Nation. In Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics, Strauss tackles subjects as diverse as “Photography and Propaganda,” the imagery of dreams, Sebastiao Salgado's epic social documents and the deeply personal photographic revelations of Francesca Woodman. The timely issue of photographic legitimacy is addressed in the essay “Photography and Belief,” and in “The Highest Degree of Illusion,” Strauss discusses the media frenzy surrounding the events of September 11. As our world is shaped more and more by images and their slipperiness, what he calls a media “pandemonium” in its root meaning of “the place of all howling demons,” we need a mind and voice like Levi Strauss' to bring clarity to our vision.
This is a phenomenal book that every photographer should read before even touching a camera again.

"Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics" by David Levi Strauss is a collection of writings, most of which came out during the '90s to review works by photographers and artists such as Alfredo Jaar, Francesca Woodman, Witkin, Miguel Rio Branco and Ania Bien. The very well argued points that the author makes across the book, range from Photography and Propaganda and the imagery of dreams to Sebastiao Salgado's social documents, all the way to the very personal photographic research that the troubled artist who was Francesca Woodman created in her time. A chapter titled "Photography and Belief" revolves around the issue of photographic legitimacy, while another chapter named "The Highest Degree of Illusion" deals with the media obsession with some major events such as the terrible happenings of September 11th. All of these essays have been published on major outlets around the world, such as Aperture, Artforum and The Nation.

I strongly suggest this book for anyone that deals with images, which, nowadays as the book argues, is everyone since we are all navigating through the Pandemonium of photos that we are constantly exposed to. Just like Walter Benjamin's Flaneur who walks the streets of Paris and is flooded by all the visual input of all the shop windows that he sees but that he can't retain, today we are constantly exposed to a visual noise that we very much need to understand how to filter in order to make sense of the images we see. This book is a great way to move the first steps towards such understanding that can lead us to a more informed processing of the visual world.
Politics rules our lives. Just think of the images that came out of the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. The behind the scenes pictures of the daily Presidential grind. This book is an invaluable insight into the reality of our daily, increasingly difficult lives.
Very educating and moving in its content, and interesting to read as well. I have to admit I bought it because I saw John Berger wrote the introduction. So, it is a good, new discovery for me which I would recommend to all.
A good read for young and old photographers alike!
Amazing, have read several times.
Between the Eyes is a collection of essays that interpret several political events through their depiction in photographic works. Strauss stresses the rapid growth of cybernetics, digitization, and interactivity, which he believes has destroyed direct democracy and the power of the image. The power to move people to action. It is in this age of technology that we have forgotten how to do so. Photographs of pain, "do not compel us to action...because we are not implicated." They are our reality and reflection is mere reflex.

Translating every photographic work into a cohesive political statement, Strauss provides us with a background of each event and artist. The invention of postmodern propaganda is examined through photojournalists, Richard Cross and John Hoagland's work of the crisis in El Salvador and Nicaragua during the 1980s. Likewise, the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 is reconstructed through Alfredo Jaar's photographic depiction of the devastation of the Tutsi people and the failure of the West to act.

The book begins and ends in the dark. "This is written in the night," John Berger states in his poetic introduction. Further more, the last chapter is titled, "In the Dark." It explores the irony of living in the darkness of images, where light is the essential. If we could pull ourselves out of the dark there's no telling what we could do in light.

Review by Lilly Ball
I had high hopes for this book; in particular I had hoped to share some of the essays with my students. I was disappointed to find that the writing included a lot of statistics about politics and society without referring to the research that backs them up (no footnotes: just dropped information like "nine of ten people have experienced XYZ."). Because much of the writing is now ten years or more out of date, it's difficult to know how much faith to put into these facts, and because the writing is so polemical, I couldn't present it to my students without showing or at least pointing to the research that it is based on. Though I think it's important to share documents and artwork from different political perspectives to my students, I can't and won't share any of this book with them. It's a shame.
Abu Ghraib: The Politics of Torture (The Terra Nova Series)
This book is not only theory but personal and intelligent thoughts from David Levi Strauss about what photographers' images are saying, what their audience is hearing and how sometimes the two are not the same. The essays are short and written plainly but eloquent. Excellent addition to your photography library.

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