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If they’re writing about groups of photographers, they tend to write about them like a group that all existed together at the same chronological moment, and not to trace these kinds of lineages that descend over time and loop around. It’s sort of hard to say what the tradition might be, and he lets the different pieces speak for themselves.I have a soft spot for Geoff Dyer because when his first novel, came out he used one of my brother’s paintings on the front cover. He says they all have an interest in style and that’s definitely true.
One of the things that’s really striking about Geoff’s book — and all of these books — is that “ways of seeing,” in Berger’s phrase, are so idiosyncratic.
Different individuals see so particularly and part of the joy of reading a book like this is getting to encounter his way of seeing.
Even if you think it’s all so direct now — you don’t really need much language because you can have a 24-hour stream of images — people actually spend very little time with each image that they encounter.
At a museum, you see people going quickly through and just glancing here and there.
So there’s a long loop on the hat, there’s another one on benches, there’s ones on bodies.
As you read through them, you have this sense of the way photographers themselves feel images in their mind.
Writers really can help, even, sometimes, just by describing what’s in a picture.
It’s perfectly fine to reproduce the picture and describe it immediately next to it, because even with the image right there, the reader is not necessarily taking in very much.
That’s a thing about visual work in general, that’s like writing.
In writing, you’re always learning from other writers, you’re always redoing things that other writers have done. Even if it’s far back in the mind of the practitioner, it can still be very interesting for a viewer to see.