Alec Soth's Archived Blog

July 11, 2007

Papageorge in Aperture (1974)

Filed under: Papageorge — alecsothblog @ 11:34 am

In an issue of Aperture devoted to “The Snapshot”, Tod Papageorge presented eight pictures from his Guggenheim Fellowship of 1970-71. Some of these pictures will be included in Papageorge’s forthcoming book: American Sports, 1970. Or How We Spend the War in Vietnam. The magazine also features a terrific untitled essay by Papageoge. Below are a few selections (or you can read the full text here).


photo by Tod Papageorge, 1970-71

“What serious photographers share is guild-deep and much stronger than those differences of subject matter reviewers commonly lunch on. For example, Robert Frank and Atget, however separate their route and ambitions, stare faultlessly: the verb is one; the shared motive, seeing; and the distance between the two photographers no greater than adjectives can measure.

Cameras are like dogs, but dumb, and toward quarry, even more faithful. They point, -they render, and defy the photographer who hopes. Photography investigates no deeper relief than surfaces. It is superficial, in the first sense of the word; it studies the shape and skin of things, that which can be seen. By a passionate extension of this, its most profound meanings have to do with immanence, the indwelling grace of what Zen calls our ten thousand facts. This is not transport, or celestial transcendence, but that more footed joy and grief found near any clear sighting of the word.”


photo by Tod Papageorge, 1970-71

“From wherever it begins, a photograph ends as a cupped abstraction: the thing capsized, stripped, and projected as an image. If made well, it will give its own shape of delight and, at the same time, be tempered as conclusively as steel. The game is the old one of form set against the specific charge and demand of content. Photographers do not expect others to understand this, but for them the process they use is prodigal, addictive, and maddening.”

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for all of these Papageorge posts, Alec.

    Comment by mdm — July 13, 2007 @ 11:40 am


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