Timothy O’Sullivan Speaks

We know Timothy O'Sullivan almost entirely through his images. Almost nothing else is sure about him. His most famous photographs are of the aftermath of battles in the Civil War, bodies strewn across the ground. But to photographers the name Timothy O'Sullivan evokes images of the American West, a land…

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Book Review: Looking at On Photographs, by David Campany

(This review is co-published with Photobook Journal: The Contemporary Phonebook Magazine.) When I was a young man I labored through the book On Photography, by Susan Sontag. I was a subscriber to the New York Review of Books, though not during the early 1970s when the chapters in this book…

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Landing On Mars

(This is part of series looking back at posts I wrote a decade ago.)  Originally published on November 26, 2011 as "What Audacity Looks Like." Sometimes I get a little jealous of other fields, outside of art, outside of photography. I look at what science and technology have achieved--and continue…

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Lincoln’s Head

This post is from a series of articles chronicling a 2020 cross-country trip with my wife and two daughters and a boyfriend, from California to Ohio (to visit family) and Pennsylvania (to drop off my oldest daughter at grad school), and then back. We spent over five weeks on the road…

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Things Are More In Focus Now

It's September 2001. The twin towers lay ruined and smoldering in New York City. At the Pentagon there are nightly vigils and there are flowers for the dead. In the small towns of eastern Pennsylvania the only topic of discussion is the plane that fell from the sky. The nation…

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Art, The Endless Frontier

(This is part of series looking back at posts I wrote a decade ago.) Originally published on November 2, 2011 as Chuck Close eyes the money, Steve Jobs envisions art’s importance Chuck Close wants his money. At least from works sold in California. In 1977 California passed the first and…

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Televised Anger-Lullibies

Every night when we got to the hotel the outrage-of-the-day was waiting for us. Sometimes it was one of the up-and-comers, maybe Jesse Watters, his goofy frat-boy smirk his natural facial expression at rest. Watters came to national attention on Fox by going to college campuses—a stand-in for liberal hot-spots—and…

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Trump Country, 2017

I crossed America by car in the summer of 2017, looking for Trump. I looked for him in truck stops and restrooms, parking lots and malls. I looked for Trump in roadside signs and unplanted fields, in thrift stores and magazine racks. And I found him, though I had to…

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The Freedom Shirts

We don't like Walmarts in the part of the country where I live. We're all good liberals. Walmart is a small-town-destroying monster, gobbling up family businesses, impoverishing its workers. There are no more little downtowns because of Walmarts, just big-box stores surrounded by chain food stores. Something like that. But…

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