Between the Eyes.
Essays on Photography and Politics.
By David Levi Strauss.
Aperture, 2012. 208 pp., 28 black & white illustrations, 5½x8¼".
In an era of social confusion and visual pandemonium, David Levi Strauss tackles issues of photography and politics in a way that few critics today are courageous enough to attempt. The essays collected in Between the Eyes address topics ranging from propaganda and the imagery of dreams, to Sebastiao Salgado’s epic social documents and the deeply personal photographic revelations of Francesca Woodman. Other issues broached here include the legitimacy of photographic imagery and the media frenzy surrounding the events of September 11, as well as essays on the work of Ania Bien, Miguel Rio Branco, Alfredo Jaar, Joel-Peter Witkin and others, plus an interview with painter Leon Golub (who worked from photographs). Reviewing the first edition of Between the Eyes, Publisher’s Weekly wrote: “’Photography and Propaganda,’ a study of the work and deaths in '80s Central America of photojournalists Richard Cross and John Hoagland, should be required reading in the age of embeddedness, and ‘Photography and Belief’ is a terrific meditation on truth in the age of digital manipulation.” As our world is increasingly deluged by images, a voice like Strauss’s brings clarity to our understanding of their function and power. Thoughtful and firm, these reflections seem more vital now than ever.