Between the Eyes.
Essays on Photography.


Text by David Levi Strauss.
Aperture, New York, 2003. 224 pp., numerous black-and-white illustrations, 5½x8¼".

The length of these essays varies greatly. Some are as short as 2 to 3 pages, while others run up to 30 pages long. And the subject matter is equally diverse; the themes of Joel-Peter Witkin, Sebastião Salgado, and Francesca Woodman are each thoughtfully addressed. But what is constant throughout is the awareness of the underlying power of photography to produce change. These essays both celebrate that power—whether the change is on a personal or societal level—and castigate those who would seek to undermine the effectiveness, and hence usefulness, of photographic imagery. This idea of usefulness is shot through the collection, sometimes explicitly, sometimes indirectly, and takes numerous forms. For to be of use does not necessarily imply the utilitarian. If, after reading any number of these essays, one feels personally engaged in a more lively dialogue about the medium (and there's no reason one won't) than one of the goals, and thus uses, of such superb critical writing has been fulfilled.
 

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