This book [The photographer’s eye] is an investigation of what photographs look like, and why they look that way. It is concerned with photographic style and with photographic tradition: with the sense of possibilities that a photographer today takes to his work.- The Photographer’s eye, by John Szarkowski, 1966.
The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego (MoPA), California, celebrates its 25th year anniversary with a unique exposition based on the landmark exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, in 1964 and later published in the historical book “The Photographer’s eye“(1966), by John Szarkowski , the former Director of the Department of Photography at the Museum.
Out of print for many years, a new edition of “The Photographer’s eye” book was released in 2007, the year of John Szarkowski’s death [obituary at the NYT]. The book is extraordinary, and a book I recommend to anyone with interest in the history of photography.
John Szarkowski was not only a fantastic photographer but his leadership at the MoMA, where he worked as director for close to 20 years, had profound influence in the photographic fine art field. He had an incredible artistic intellectual clarity to write and speak about the aesthetics of photography and his influence was profound in our understanding of the medium today. You can read a couple of beautiful essays about John Szarkowski, here and here.
The MoPA will use The Photographer’s Eye as a template from which to view over 120 photographs from its permanent collection, and to celebrate the museum’s 25th anniversary through a renewed commitment to collecting. In addition to this exhibit, a parallel exhibition will focus on the photographic history of portraiture: Picturing the Process: Portraiture Through the Lens, January 12 – July 6, 2008