The Manila Syndrome

Filipino labor importation and US Cold War Diplomacy Men wait on pier 40 to board the ship that will take them to Alaska. April 27, 1939. Courtesy Fred and Dorothy Cordova, National Pinoy Archive, Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Copyright (c) reserved. A month after New York went into COVID-19 lockdown, one of my… Continue reading The Manila Syndrome

Visual Sovereignty and the Counter-archive

The dominance of official photography and the silencing effect of public history on indigenous groups have led First Peoples movements to establish “counter-archives'' presenting their visual sovereignty. Amy Lonetree recounts a powerful encounter with images taken by Charles Van Schaickof of her ancestors just a few short years after what she describes as, “the darkest,… Continue reading Visual Sovereignty and the Counter-archive

Notes on not publishing a book from a really extremist ultra-leftist

Guy Debord's Biography in 45 Notes Guy Louis Debord (/dəˈbɔːr/; French: [gi dəbɔʁ]; 28 December 1931 – 30 November 1994) Think of how your book would look if you published a book. If it looks anything like any other book, do not publish that book.If by some reason you think of a book that has… Continue reading Notes on not publishing a book from a really extremist ultra-leftist

Visual echoes

Lee Friedlander (1934 – ), Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota, 1969, gelatin silver print. Middlebury College Museum of Art. Purchase with funds provided by the Memorial Art Fund, 1998.028. © Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco How many ways has photography changed our view of nature and how has our overwhelming dependence on photography impacted… Continue reading Visual echoes

A decent photo of Montauk Point

Over the summer break, I visited Montauk Point on the easternmost end of Long Island and I was intrigued by the information written on a tourist pamphlet that lighthouses were the very first public works project undertaken by the United States. The lighthouse along with the one at Camp Henry, as pointed out in “Conjuring… Continue reading A decent photo of Montauk Point

Art writing needs to be activist

I find myself writing more frequently about photographs and writing about photographic exhibitions and the archive. Thinking about the photograph’s historical, theoretical, architectural, and urban contexts and attendant social issues became more insightful and rewarding in light of extended isolation from any art world experience. Time away from galleries and museums was good but I’m… Continue reading Art writing needs to be activist

Heaven in wildflower

EILEEN QUINLANLookout Mountain, 2020gelatin silver print22 x 18 inches (55.9 x 45.7 cm)framed dimensions: 24 x 20 inches (61 x 50.8 cm)edition of 2 + 2 APs Heaven in wildflower Miguel Abreu Gallery’s first post-COVID quarantine exhibition pits painting versus photography. Brooklyn-based photographer Eileen Quinlan captures the nightmare of being marooned in isolation while Cheyney… Continue reading Heaven in wildflower

Blindness and reflection

I recall Aristotle’s De Anima in Geoffrey Batchen’s article about his thrift store locket. A commercial photographic material, the locket was once deemed lacking in “intellectual and aesthetic qualities beyond sentimental kitsch,” thus making it unfit for purposes of official history (33). The invisibility of such low-cultural objects to institutional analysis nonetheless paved the way… Continue reading Blindness and reflection

Listening to Images

Campt, Tina, Listening to images. (Durham : Duke University Press, 2017) I found Tina Campt’s use of the term “vernacular photography” thematically apt. Though she never mentions it, the etymology of "vernacular" is linked to slavery. From the OED: "vernacular", early 17th century: from Latin vernaculus 'domestic, native' (from verna 'home-born slave') + -ar.* Used in… Continue reading Listening to Images