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Michael Kimmelman Reviews "Controversies" Exhibit in Paris

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 05, 2009
Updated: Friday, December 27, 2013

New York Times Art Critic reviews "Controversies: A Legal and Ethical History of Photography," recently on view at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris


There is a civil contract implied by photographs. An Israeli writer, Ariella Azoulay, published a book making that point. Henri Cartier-Bresson made it too. He described shooting pictures of people as a "sort of violation," adding, "if sensitivity is lacking, there can be something barbaric about it." There can be, of course, and not just when the subject doesn't like the image.

We, viewing the pictures, are complicit. As consumers of images we bear witness through them. Or we're voyeurs.

Read the complete review in The New York Times.

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