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"Some of the best photoghraphers are both discouraging and encouraging at once. Nicholas Nixon's picture of a calf is of that mixed sort, a cautiously astringent expression of hope.

Like all photographers, Nixon speaks to us in part by what he declines to tell us. In this case the title—West Springfield, Massachusetts, 1978—forces us to think. Are we visiting a family farm? Possibly, but it seems more likely that we are at a county fair, and with that realization we are brought to remember that many large animals there have at best only a few months to live.

The photographer also instructively keeps from us the face of the person extending her or his arm. We assume the individual is caring—the touch is so light that the calf does not open its eyes—but the arm is so perfect that it seems almost abstract, almost an ideal. Shouldn't the hand be stroking the animal a little, rather than just touching it? Perhaps it is, although the angle of contact does not quite suggest that. In any case what we want is to believe that an actual person, one like you and me, is reaching out impulsively in wonder and with affection. Nixon seems reluctant, however, by not letting us see the expression on the individual's face, fully to confirm the person's humane motives."

—Robert Adams, excerpted from the chapter "Photography Changes Our Awareness of Beauty and Hope," published in Photography Changes Everything.



Photography Changes Everything

Published by Aperture
Edited and introduction by Marvin Heiferman. Foreword by Merry Foresta.

Featured photograph, "West Springfield, Massachusetts, 1978," by Nicholas Nixon, is reproduced from Robert Adams' chapter, "Photography Changes Our Awareness of Beauty and Hope," published in <I>Photography Changes Everything</I>.Photography Changes Everything offers a provocative rethinking of photography’s impact on our culture and our daily lives. Compiling hundreds of images and responses from leading authorities on photography, it offers a brilliant, reader-friendly exploration of the many ways in which photographs package information and values, demand and hold attention, and shape our knowledge of and experience in the world. The volume draws on the extraordinary visual assets of the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, science centers and archives to launch an unprecedented interdisciplinary dialogue on photography’s capacity to shape and change our experience of the world. Photography Changes Everything features over 300 images and nearly 100 engaging short texts commissioned from experts, writers, inventors, public figures and others--from Hugh Hefner to John Baldessari, John Waters, Robert Adams, Sandra Phillips and many others. Each story responds to images selected by project contributors. Together they engage readers in a timely exploration of the extent to which our lives have been transformed through our interactions with photographic imagery. Edited by leading photography curator and author Marvin Heiferman, Photography Changes Everything provides a unique opportunity to better understand the history, practice and power of photography at this transitional moment in visual culture.

Featured photograph, "West Springfield, Massachusetts, 1978," by Nicholas Nixon, is reproduced from Robert Adams' chapter, "Photography Changes Our Awareness of Beauty and Hope," published in Photography Changes Everything.

Photography Changes Everything

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JANE BROWN | DATE 7/5/2012

Photography Changes Everything Panel at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase

Photography Changes Everything Panel at ARTBOOK @ Paper ChaseOn June 28, ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase, Aperture and Arcana Books on the Arts launched Marvin Heiferman's new book of stories, ideas and essays exploring how photography has shaped and changed every aspect of our collective experiences and the world around us. The event included a panel organized by Heiferman featuring fellow Photography Changes Everything contributors Lois W. Banner and Leo Braudy, along with photography curator Charlotte Cotton. Together they gave an engaging and timely talk that confirmed photography's role as a catalyst—it aggressively moves us forward and changes everything—from science to cinema, and from art to human nature.
A book signing and reception followed the presentation.
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JANE BROWN | DATE 6/25/2012

Photography Changes Everything: Marvin Heiferman at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase

Photography Changes Everything: A Conversation with Marvin Heiferman at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Please join Aperture and ARTBOOK | D.A.P. on Thursday, June 28th from 7-9pm at the ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase showroom—7174 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood—for a conversation with Marvin Heiferman, leading photography curator and editor of Photography Changes Everything, and special guests Lois W. Banner, historian and author of numerous biographies, including MM-Personal: From the Private Archive of Marilyn Monroe and the forthcoming Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox; Leo Braudy, author of many books of cultural history, including The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History, and, most recently, The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon; and Charlotte Cotton, writer and curator.
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