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Geoff Dyer’s “The Ongoing Moment”

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Geoff Dyer’s new book “The Ongoing Moment“. So anxiously that I forgot the release date. Anyway, it’s on the shelves, and it’s worth picking-up in hardback if you like to read and think about photography.

I read the first chapter on the train this morning and wanted to recommend it, not just for its discussion of street photography (the entire beginning is about the history of photographers taking pictures of blind people — er, blind people with accordians) but from its look at photography as a whole, and its choice quotes like this, from Dorthea Lange;

To know ahead of time what you’re looking for means you’re then only photographing your own preconceptions, which is very limiting.

If you enjoy Dyer, skip that last “yoga” book of his and pick up his earlier book on D.H. Lawrence, which is essentially a book about how he can’t write a “sober study” of D.H. Lawrence. It’s phenomenal.

Even better, this bit from Diane Arbus:

Everybody has that thing where they need to look one way but they come out looking another way and that’s what people observe. You see someone on the street and essentially what you notice about them is the flaw. It’s just extraordinary that we should have been given these peculiarities. And, not content with what we’re given, we create a whole other set. Our whole guise is like giving a sign to the world to think of us in a certain way but there’s a paint between what you want people to know about you and what you can’t help people knowing about you.

Tag: Tidbits