A Few Links For Illumination, Elucidation & Enjoyability

The Young Leonardo, Pitti Palace, Florence, Italy.

The Young Leonardo, Pitti Palace, Florence, Italy. Photo by Barry Schwartz

Here’s a collection of pieces I’ve come across recently that apply, are useful for, may be of interest to anyone who creates or appreciates other people’s creativity.

Copyright is an issue of concern to writers as much as to photographers. While writers may incorporate other creator’s work in perfectly legal ways, they have a very specific set of restrictions that photographers can learn from and keep in mind for their own careers. The Authors Alliance is giving away a comprehensive guide: Fair Use For Nonfiction Authors, which provides a terrific overview of the legalities of using other people’s work in your own.



Cecil Beaton, a multi-hyphenate master artist of the twentieth century, was a legendary (and remains) an influential photographer with a wide range of interests who also was a respected film and theatre designer (he won an Oscar for My Fair Lady). There is a new book about him, Love, Cecil, and a documentary, both by Lisa Immordino Vreeland (Diana Vreeland’s granddaughter). By David Schonauer in ProPhotoDaily.

Trending: The Journey of Cecil Beaton, In a New Book and Film


aPhotoEditor has posted a terrific article about a community exhibit in Mumbai, started by the street artist JR, the St+art Urban Art Festival. The “show” takes place out in the open, involving professionals and the public alike as participants.

St+Art / Sassoon Dock Art Project


A photographer from the Vietnam War, Catherine Leroy – not well known in large part simply because she was a woman – had a long career as a professional photographer. A slide show of very fine pictures from the war, along with a great article in the New York Times Lens Blog, by Elizabeth Herman.

In Her Own Words, Photographing the Vietnam War


The writer Orhan Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize in 2006, is an investigator of photographs. “The qualities that preserve a photograph’s relevance to future generations transcend the purposes of those who saw the frame and captured it. The lens sees things the photographer was never looking at, and years later, new generations, people with fresh eyes and novel interests, will find entirely different meaning in these accidental particulars.”

The link will take you to an excerpt of the introduction to Istanbul – Memories And The City, published on the terrific site Literary Hub.



Susan Meiselas is often thought of as a war photographer, based on her long-term project in Nicaragua, but she in fact has always had a much larger project in mind, as her other, wide-ranging work confirms. Meiselas does more than simply document what she experiences via photography: “From the outset, the idea of a narrative that extended beyond a single frame lay at the heart of my work”. In The Nation Magazine, by Ratik Asokan.

Susan Meiselas’s Redemptive Time

In her new photo-memoir, the photographer returns to the origin of her career to reflect on all she’s remembered, and why it’s worth remembering.


Alex Soth on the book that made his name, Sleeping By The Mississippi. With photos, on the Magnum photo website (where he is a member), interviewed by Anne Bourgeois-Vignon.

Sleeping By The Mississippi. On the occasion of its fourth reprint, Alec Soth looks back at his career-defining project.


Peter Krogh, expert in all things digital asset management (he wrote The DAM Book) and a working photographer, has written about the big changes that have just come to Lightroom, why they happened, and – more importantly – where he thinks the software industry is going. As always, a great, informed read on his Dam Book blog.



Jay Allison’s Five Heretical Sermons

Photo By Barry Schwartz

Jay Allison is an award-winning radio producer, reporter, and writer who, in addition to his own work, has mentored and sponsored countless creatives over decades. He gave the opening keynote at the Third Coast International Audio Festival last year, where some of the best and soon-to-be-best audio producers gather to sustain inventiveness and excellence in themselves and their peers.

His talk was directed at audio professionals, but if you substitute “creator” for “producer”, his detailing how to maintain a career by obeying and breaching rules fully applies to anyone whose job is to create something out of nothing.

Allison called his talk Preaching To Myself: Five Heretical Sermons In Five Minutes. He begins by saying “They’re heretical in that they’re the opposite of a lot of advice, but they’re some of the things I tell myself when I stray from what feels most abidingly important.”

The Sermons are:

1 – Don’t Ask Permission
2 – Be Odd
3 – Stay Home
4 – Don’t Try To Be Cool
5 – Stop Competing

Allison’s talk is on Transom as a stream and a transcript. Transom a great resource for all things audio (and therefore video): equipment reviews and tutorials, interviewing techniques (including interviews with such folks as Ira Glass), how to structure a story, many fine workshops, and much more. And it’s free. More than that, Transom is about how to be a storyteller; and in the end, that’s any creative person’s job.

Check it out:

Preaching To Myself: Five Heretical Sermons In Five Minutes


On Walker Evans


Floyd and Lucille Burroughs; Walker Evans (American, 1903 – 1975); 1936; Gelatin silver print; 19.1 × 21.4 cm (7 1/2 × 8 7/16 in.); 84.XM.956.336


From the 1920s until he died in 1975, Walker Evans’ work set a high bar for documentary photography, revealing poetry in the ordinary. He was a photographer’s photographer, already accomplished by the time of his unique collaboration in 1941 on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, a groundbreaking book written by his friend James Agee (himself a unique talent – a writer’s writer).

Evans’ career was not a straight path to what he became famous for, not least because he drew from a much larger culture than photography alone.

Known for being a most American photographer, documenting ordinary lives and environments, his focus came out of an early antipathy for his own country; he started as a writer influenced by European taste and culture, where he got assigned to see the conditions he would choose to document on film.

Every photographer in the Western world, documentary, commercial, or fine art, can trace a link in their work back to Walker Evans.

Meredith Mendelsohn, writing for the terrific Artsy website, has written a well-informed, thoughtful piece on the opening of a major museum retrospective.

Read it here: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-walker-evans-changed-way-america