Saturday, November 5, 2016

The whole thing? I don't know.

Hi R—,

Just wanted to say I saw your photo show yesterday at B— and really enjoyed it. Nice selection. Great series. Good to see in print form.

Hope all is well.

-B


Dear Blake, 
Thank you for coming to see my show. It was good for me to see the work completed and on the wall. As you know it has been hovering over me for some time now.
Life is for the most part good, though M— let me go after 27 years of teaching there last June due to low enrollment across the university and me being a salaried/benefited person, I was on the chopping block. I will go back there in January as an adjunct to teach a couple classes. So life is different and looking for other teaching.
But, of course, pictures, always pictures!!!
I hope life is treating you well,
R—


Hi R—,

Sorry to hear about M—. I really enjoyed those history of photography courses there with you long ago. Sounds like you got a raw deal. 

Photos are happening in spurts. Yesterday was my first non-rainy free afternoon in a while, and I walked up and down some good alleys near campus. Great shadows and leaf forms and mid-Autumn detritus to photograph, but mostly it was just nice being outside in the sun for a little bit. Maybe that's the whole thing. I don't know.

-B 


Dear Blake,
I have always believed being a photographer is a good excuse for taking a walk. I think you have it just right. The world is an amazing place and if you are a visual person, which I wholly believe you are from all the wonder full evidence I've seen, then those walks are heightened by the discoveries you make and attempt to illuminate in a picture.
Take Care and Keep Walking,
R—


Hi R—,

Paraphrasing Mark Twain: "Photography is nothing but a good walk spoiled."

-B


Dear Blake,
One more non-photographer's opinion. What appears from the outside is not what one understands from the inside.
R—

Saturday, October 29, 2016

400 Street Photo Books

Abbas, Return To Mexico
Jun Abe, Citizens
Jun Abe, 1981
Michael Ackerman, End Time City
Robert Adams, No Small Journeys
Christophe Agou, Les Faits Secondaires
Christophe Agou, Life Below
Christopher Anderson, Capitolio
Tom Arndt, Men In America
Diane Arbus, In the Beginning

Julia Baier, Water Matters
Shirley Baker, Street Photographs, Manchester and Salford
Shirley Baker, Streets and Spaces
Micha Bar-Am, Our Daily Bread
Bruno Barbey, The Italians
Katy Barron, Unseen
Mary Berridge, On The Eve
Dawoud Bey, Harlem, U.S.A.
Boogie, A Wah Do Dem
Boogie, Belgrade Belongs To Me
Richard Bram, New York
Richard Bram, Street Photography
Brassai, Paris by Night
Rene Burri, Germans
Rene Burri, Impossible Reminiscences
Rene Burri, Photographs

Harry Callahan, The Archive 28: Early Street Photography
Harry Callahan, The Street
H. Cartier-Bresson, America In Passing
H. Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment
H. Cartier-Bresson, The Europeans
H. Cartier-Bresson, In India
H. Cartier-Bresson, Mexican Notebooks
H. Cartier-Bresson, Scrapbook
H. Cartier-Bresson, The Early Work
Vivian Cherry, Helluva Town
Krass Clement, Hvor Ingen Talte
Mark Cohen, Frame
Mark Cohen, Grim Street
Mark Cohen, Dark Knees
Mark Cohen, True Color
Joan Colom, Les Gens Du Raval
Martha Cooper, Street Play
Thomas Consilvio, Snapshooters
Barbara Crane, Private Views

Bill Dane, Outside and Inside America
Maciej Dakowicz, Cardiff After Dark
Bruce Davidson, Central Park
Bruce Davidson, England/Scotland 1960
Bruce Davidson, Subway
Roy DeCarava, Photographs
Roy DeCarava, The Sweet Flypaper of Life
Carl De Keyzer, East Of Eden
Carl De Keyzer, God Inc.
Carl De Keyzer, Homo Sovieticus
Peter Dench, The British Abroad
Peter Dench, Dench Does Dallas
Peter Dench, England Uncensored
Raymond Depardon, Adeiu Saigon
Raymond Depardon, Berlin
Raymond Depardon, Glasgow
Raymond Depardon, Manhattan Out
Raymond Depardon, Voyages
Robert Doisneau, Three Seconds of Eternity
Eamonn Doyle, i
Eamonn Doyle, On
Carolyn Drake, Two Rivers
Diane Dufour and Matthew S. Witkovsky, Provoke: Between Protest and Performance
Bryan Dyson, One Eye Open, One Eye Closed

William Eggleston, Before Color
William Eggleston, Los Alamos
Jonathan Elderfield, Living Under South Street
Ed van der Elsken, Sweet Life
Mitch Epstein, The City
Mitch Epstein, In Pursuit of India 
Mitch Epstein, Recreation
Elliott Erwitt, Museum Watching
Elliott Erwitt, On The Beach
Elliott Erwitt, Personal Exposures
Elliott Erwitt, Photographs and Anti-Photographs
Elliott Erwitt, Sequentially Yours
Elliott Erwitt, Snaps
Walker Evans, Many Are Called

Louis Faurer (Self Titled)
Louis Fauer (Steidl)
Louis Faurer, Photographs from Philadelphia and New York, 1937-1973
Flo Fox, Asphalt Gardens

David Featherstone, The Diana Show
Harold Feinstein, A Retrospective
Harold Feinstein, Saying Yes
Martine Franck, One Day To The Next
Robert Frank, The Americans
Leonard Freed, Black in White America
Leonard Freed, Photographs 1954-1990
Leonard Freed, The Italians
Jill Freedman, Circus Days
Jill Freedman, Street Cops
Lee Friedlander, American Monuments
Lee Friedlander, MOMA (Big Yellow)
Lee Friedlander, Photographs
Lee Friedlander, Self Portrait
Lee Friedlander, Street
David Freund, Gas Stop

George Georgiou, Fault Lines
George Georgiou, Last Stop
Luigi Ghirri, It's Beautiful Here, Isn't It...
David Gibson, Matt Stuart, and Nick Turpin, Three
David Gibson, The Street Photographer's Manual
Ford Gilbreath, (Self Titled)
Bruce Gilden, After The Off
Bruce Gilden, Facing New York
Bruce Gilden, Haiti
Richard Gordon, Meta Photographs
Paul Graham, The Present
Kenneth Graves, The Home Front
Jonathan Green, The Snapshot
Sid Grossman, The Life and Work of Sid Grossman
Harry Gruyaert, (Self Titled)

Ernst Haas, Color Correction
M. Bruce Hall, Promised Land
Siegfried Hansen, Hold The Line
Christobal Hara, An Imaginary Spaniard
Christobal Hara, Contranatura
Christobal Hara, Cuatro cosas de Espana
Christobal Hara, Vanitas
Charles Harbutt, Departures and Arrivals
Charles Harbutt, Travelog
David Alan Harvey, Based on a True Story
Robert Herman, The New Yorkers
Anthony Hernandez, Rodeo Drive 1984
Fred Herzog, Photographs
Ken Heyman, Hipshot
Jackie Higgins, World Atlas of Street Photography
Lisa Hostetler, Street Seen
Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren, Street Photography Now

In-Public@10
Yasuhiro Ishimoto, A Tale of Two Cities
Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Chicago, Chicago
Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Shibuya, Shibuya

Jeff Jacobson, The Last Roll
Jeff Jacobson, My Fellow Americans
Stella Johnson, Al Sol

Simpson Kalisher, Propaganda and Other Photographs
Richard Kalvar, Earthlings
Zisis Kardianos, A Sense of Place
Peter Kayafas, O Public Road!
Thatcher Keats, Confidence Games
Beate Kemfert and Christina Leber, Road Atlas
David Lykes Keenan, Fair Witness
Andre Kertesz, Diary of Light
Andre Kertesz, His Life and Work
Johan vad där Keuken, Quatorze Juillet
Chris Killip, In Flagrante
Keizo Kitajima, Modoru Okinawa
Keizo Kitajima, New York
William Klein, Life Is Good and Good For You In New York 1956
William Klein, Tokyo
Martin Kollar, Nothing Special
Viktor Kolar, (Self Titled)
Viktor Kolar, Canada 1968-73
Viktor Kolar, Mala Strana
Viktor Kolar, Ostrava
Koudelka, Gypsies
Koudelka, Exiles
Max Kozloff, New York Over The Top
Seiji Kurata, Flash Up

Jason Langer, Secret City
Sergio Larrain, Vaparaiso
Sergio Larrain, Vagabond Photographer
Jacques Henri Lartigue, Album of a Century
Jacques Henri Lartigue, A Sporting Life
Joseph Lawton, Contact Sheet 108
Saul Leiter, (Self Titled)
Saul Leiter, Early Black and White
Saul Leiter, Early Color
Gita Lenz, (Self Titled)
Leon Levenstein, (Self Titled)
Helen Levitt, (Self Titled)
Helen Levitt, Crosstown
Helen Levitt, Here and There
Helen Levitt, Slide Show
Marketa Luskacova (Self Titled)
Marketa Luskacova, Pilgrims

Vivian Maier, A Photographer Found
Vivian Maier, Eye To Eye
Vivian Maier, Out Of The Shadows
Vivian Maier, Street Photographer
Rene Maltete, Paris Des Rues et Des Chansons
Jesse Marlow, Don't Just Tell Them Show Them
Jesse Marlow, Wounded
Constantine Manos, American Color
Constantine Manos, American Color 2
Constantine Manos, Bostonians
Constantine Manos, A Greek Portfolio
Emil Mayer, Wiener Typen
Roger Mayne, Street Photographs of Roger Mayne
Bob Mazzer, Underground
Don McCullin, In England
Paul McDonough, New York Photographs 1968-1978
Paul McDonough, Sight Seeing
Richard Misrach, Telegraph 3 A.M.
Enrique Metinides, 101 Tragedies
Ken Miller, Shoot: Photography of the Moment
Joseph Mills, Inner City
Jeff Mermelstein, Sidewalk
Jeff Mermelstein, No Title Here
Jeff Mermelstein, Twirl/Run
Ray Metzker, City Stills
Ray Metzker, Light Lines
Ray Metzker, Sand Creatures
Joel Meyerowitz, Glimpse
Joel Meyerowitz, Retrospective
Joel Meyerowitz, Wild Flowers
Boris Mikhailov, (Self Titled)
Lisette Model, (Self Titled)
Jean-Pierre Montier, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art
Kevin Moore and James Crump, Starburst
Giles Mora, The Last Photographic Heroes
Inge Morath, First Color
Inge Morath, The Road To Reno
Andy Morley-Hall, Please Do Not Feed
Daido Moriyama, Bye Bye Photography
Daido Moriyama, Stray Dog
Igor Moukhin, My Moscow

Richard Nagler, Word On The Street
Takehiko Nakafuji, Night Crawler
Takuma Nakahira, For a Language To Come
Ramy Narula, Platform 10
Enrico Natali, Detroit 1968
Enrico Natali, New American People
Enrico Natali, New York Subway 1960
Paulo Nozolino, Penumbra

Toby Old, Lucky Strikes
Toby Old, Times Square
Kramer O'Neill, Pictures of People and Things
Kramer O'Neill, Till Human Voices Wake Us
Tony O'Shea, Dubliners
Ruth Orkin, Above and Beyond

Patrick Pagnano, Shot On The Street
Tod Papageorge, American Sports, 1970
Tod Papageorge, Passing Through Eden
Tod Papageorge, Seeing Things, New York 1966-67
Trent Parke, Dream/Life
Trent Parke, Minutes To Midnight
Trent Parke and Narelle Autio, The Seventh Wave
Martin Parr, Bad Weather
Martin Parr, Common Sense
Martin Parr, The Last Resort
Martin Parr, Small World
Martin Parr, The Non-Conformists
Frank Paulin, Out Of The Limelight
Philip Perkis, The Sadness of Men
Peter Peter, Subway
Gueorgui Pinhassov, Sightwalk
Chrissy Piper, Where The Day Takes You
Sylvia Plachy, Goings On About Town
Sylvia Plachy, Self Portrait With Cows Going Home
Sylvia Plachy, Signs and Relics
Sylvia Plachy, Unguided Tour
Bernard Plossu, So Long
Gus Powell, The Company of Strangers
Mark Powell, Open At Noon
Mark Powell, V.I.P.s

Stan Raucher, Metro
Raghu Rai's India
Tony Ray-Jones, A Day Off
Tony Ray-Jones, American Colour 1962-1965
Tony Ray-Jones, (Self Titled)
Tony Ray Jones, (Russell Roberts)
Reiner Reidler, Fake Holidays
Kent Reno, Ground Time
Marc Riboud, (Self Titled)
Marc Riboud, In China
Marc Riboud, Photographs at Home and Abroad
Marcy Robinson, Half Frame
Willy Ronis, La Vie en Passant
Joerg Rubbert, Berlin-Paris-New York
Leo Rubinfein, Map of the East
Leo Rubinfein, New Roads in Old Roads
Robert Rutoed, Grayscales

Erich Salomon, Portrait of an Age
Pentti Sammallahti, Here Far Away
Richard Sandler, The Eyes Of The City
Boris Savelev, Secret City
Andrew Savulich, The City
Andrew Savulich, City of Chance
Ken Schles, Invisible City
Ken Schles, Night Walk
Tod Seelie, Bright Lights
Craig Semetko, Unposed
David Seymour, Chim
Stephen A. Scheer, The Maples
Jack Simon, Seventy
Raghubir Singh, A Way Into India
Raghubir Singh, Banaras
Raghubir Singh, Bombay
Raghubir Singh, Calcutta
Raghubir Singh, The Ganges
Raghubir Singh, The Grand Trunk Road
Raghubir Singh, Rajasthan
Raghubir Singh, River of Colour
Raghubir Singh, Tamil Nadu
Gunnar Smoliansky, One Picture at a Time
David Solomons, Happenstance
David Solomons, Up West
David Solomons, Underground
Steven B. Smith, Waiting Out The Latter Days
Otto Snoek, Why Not
Otto Snoek, Rotterdam
Otto Snoek, Ukranian Crossroads
Michael Spano, Time Frames
Chris Steele-Perkins, Fuji
Chris Steele-Perkins, Tokyo Love Hello
Harvey Stein, Briefly Seen
Harvey Stein, Coney Island
Mark Steinmetz, Greater Atlanta
Mark Steinmetz, Paris In My Time
Mark Steinmetz, South Central
Mark Steinmetz, South East
Louis Stettner, Wisdom Cries Out in the Street
Johnny Stiletto, Shots from the Hip
Johnny Stiletto, Vintage 80s
Gary Stochl, On City Streets
Dennis Stock, Made In The U.S.A.
Zoe Strauss, America
Zoe Strauss, 10 Years
Jindrich Streit, The Village is a Global Word
Matt Stuart, All That Life Can Afford
Issei Suda, Early Works
Homer Sykes, Once A Year

Yakuta Takanashi, Photography 1965-74
Yakuta Takanashi, Toward The City
Ed Templeton, Wayward Cognitions
Alexey Titarenko, The City Is A Novel
Shomei Tomatsu, Chewing Gum and Chocolate
Elisabeth Tonnard, In This Dark Wood
Charles Traub, In The Still Life
Charles Traub, Beach
Charles Traub, Dolce Via
Charles Traub, Lunchtime
Athur Tress, San Francisco 1964
Peter Turnley, French Kiss
Peter Turnley, Parisians
Nick Turpin, On The Night Bus
Nick Turpin, Publication

Burk Uzzle, A Family Named Spot
Burk Uzzle, All American
Burk Uzzle, Landscapes

Michael Vanded Eeckhoudt, Duo

Stephen Waddell, Hunt and Gather
Robert Walker, Color Is Power
Dougie Wallace, Shoreditch Wild Life
Dougie Wallace, Stags, Hens, and Bunnies
Rebecca Norris Webb, The Glass Between Us
Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb On Street Photography and the Poetic Image
Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, Memory City
Alex Webb, Crossings
Alex Webb, Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds
Alex Webb, The Suffering Of Light
Alex Webb, Under The Grudging Sun
Matt Weber, Urban Prisoner
Weegee, Naked City
Weegee, Naked Hollywood
Weegee, Weegee's World
Weegee, Unknown Weegee
Henry Wessel, (Self Titled)
Henry Wessel, Five Books
Henry Wessel, Incidents
Henry Wessel, Traffic
Henry Wessel, Waikiki
Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz, Bystander
Kai Wiedenhofer, Perfect Peace
Geoff Winningham, Friday Night In The Coliseum
Geoff Winningham, Rites Of Fall
Garry Winogrand, (SFMOMA)
Garry Winogrand, 1964
Garry Winogrand, The Animals
Garry Winogrand, Arrivals And Departures
Garry Winogrand, Archive 26: The Early Work
Garry Winogrand, Figments from the Real World
Garry Winogrand, Grossmont College Catalog
Garry Winogrand, The Man In The Crowd
Garry Winogrand, Public Relations
Garry Winogrand, Stock Photographs
Garry Winogrand, Women Are Beautiful
Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression
Tom Wood, All Zones Off Peak
Tom Wood, Looking For Love
Tom Wood, Men and Women
Tom Wood, Photie Man

Max Yavno, The Photography of Max Yavno
Kohei Yoshiyuki, The Park

Ernest J. Zarate, At The Beach
Miron Zownir, NYC RIP
Miron Zownir, Radical Eye
Miron Zownir, The Valley Of The Shadow
Slavomir Zulawinski, Instersection
Wolfgang Zurborn, Catch
Wolfgang Zurborn, Dresser Real
Wolfgang Zurborn, Drift

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fifteen Questions for Philip Perkis

Philip Perkis, Photo by Cyrilla Mozenter
Philip Perkis is a photographer and teacher based in Stony Point, NY.


1. What would you be doing if you weren't a photographer?

I've always been interested in woodworking and architecture. I'm also obsessively interested in solving physical problems. I've renovated several houses and I still make things for our home. So I would probably be doing something with furniture or small-scale building projects. I've also built many darkrooms.

2. What's the first photograph you remember seeing that made a strong impression on you?

Your question jogged my memory. It was Werner Bischof's 'Monks in the Snow-- Tokyo'—and after looking at it again the other day, I can see why I was so attracted to it. I don't think it's a great picture.

In The Court of the Meiji Temple, Tokyo, Japan, 1952, Werner Bischof

3. How would you describe your childhood?

I was lonely and frightened.

4. What is the role of chance in your life? And in your photographs?

I feel strongly that our lives are governed to a great extent by chance and fortune. How I came to live on this square of the world's chessboard—I take no credit. I am the son of an illegal immigrant who came here penniless and without English. I am learning disabled, yet because of the conditions of the world—and particularly of the United States in the second half of the 20th century, I became a successful artist, Professor Emeritus from a prestigious art school, a Guggenheim Fellow, and my work is in the collection of many of the major museums. I live in a big house that's almost all studios with my wife Cyrilla Mozenter, who is a serious and successful artist. We have a creative life together.

I am certain that none of this would have happened had I been born at any other time or in any other place. In my photography I try to seek with all three of my centers functioning: physical, emotional, mental. And when something appears that corresponds to what I'm hunting for—and I hopefully never know exactly what I'm hunting for—I take a picture. (This frequently happens very quickly.) "A collaboration with circumstance." I'm not sure about the relationship between luck, chance, randomness, intuition, unconscious, physical attraction. I can't separate all those words, and maybe there's no need to.

I think Asian cultures understand the concept of chance better than we do. It seems that we in the West need to take credit for everything good that happens to us and blame others for everything bad.


Las Juntas, Jalisco, Mexico, 1987, Philip Perkis

5. Do you think the universe has any intelligent design or higher being? And how does your understanding of that issue affect your photographs?

I think it would help to take the word 'design' out. It sounds too much like somebody did it. It's clear to me, both from experience and from learning, that the 'world' is a lawful place. It's illogical that it could be random. I think we all get glimpses of this at times in our lives. Some people pursue that understanding more than others. It has nothing to do with an old man holding a clipboard or an iPad keeping score. It's not about human morality. It seems clear to me after all these years that real art, in whatever medium and in whatever time in history, is really in pursuit of that understanding. I think that to pursue these questions too directly in my photography would be a mistake. But the aim is to be as open as possible while at the same time pursuing the craft with vigor. That some of the work I do might approach these questions. Why am I here? Is there a purpose?

6. What's your relationship with the digital world?

Marginal. Back to the luck question, my wife Cyrilla, through persistence, has become competent with the computer, and I rely on her to do things in that area. (I do the cooking.) Also, I have a friend, Vincent Manzi, a fellow photographer, who is as good at scanning my negatives as anybody. And he does the scans and Photoshop for my books. I have no problem with digital photography, and I know some people who make beautiful transcendent work using it. I just feel that I have not yet played out my hand with black and white film and small silver prints. I still have a lot more to do.


New York City, 1966, Philip Perkis

7. Do photographs require emotion to be successful?

That's a large question. The answer is yes. Art without an emotional quality is meaningless. But we have to state a couple of definitions. Emotion and feeling are different things. Really profound art has little to do with "saying what you feel" or "expressing yourself" although those issues are always involved to some degree as well as psychological and cultural issues. Feelings are always expressed through the body: happy-sad, hot-cold, full-empty, horny-sated. Too much art remains about those issues. Emotion is something else entirely. Emotion is about seeking something higher. Something we might call the TRUTH. It's a sense you might get looking at a Vermeer painting or an Agnes Martin painting or a Korean Moon Jar or a Japanese raked dry garden or Chartres Cathedral. So back to your question, the answer is yes, it is necessary to have an emotional quality in order to have real art.

8. Do you ever shoot color?

Yes. For money. About half of my income over the last 50 years has come from doing a variety of commercial photography, much of it in color. When I started photography in 1957, color was not practical to do. When it became practical to do in the 1960s-70s, I was already so immersed in my own work in black and white. (The never-to- be-finished puzzle.)

9. What is your film and print archiving system?

Marginal. I'm getting a little better now that I'm slowing down. The disadvantage is that I lose things and forget things, (I know that some of my important photographs have disappeared.) The advantage—which I'm much more interested in—is that I find things and discover things. Just the right amount of mess.


from Warwick Mountain Series, 1978, Philip Perkis

10. What music do you most enjoy? What type of books do you read?

Bebop and Bach. I read mostly books about spiritual issues and always the writings of G.I. Gurdjieff. A little bit of politics and some novels—lately W.G. Sebald, Anne Carson and Lydia Davis. Back to the music: when I was very young, maybe 11 or 12, there was a person on the radio in Boston named 'Symphony Sid' and he played jazz. It was my first exposure to 'fine art.' Parker, Gillespie, Monk, Lester Young-- I think it was my first glimpse of the idea that there's more to life than "stuff and school". I later became a huge admirer of Thelonius Monk's music and had the good fortune to have met him several times. Monk is a model for the idea of intentionality in art. You have to mean it if you're going to really "do it". He was also wildly innovative and totally disciplined. He was not an entertainer. One more note about music: I see no difference between Charlie Parker and J.S. Bach except for time and culture. I think they're both after the same thing. Another big influence on me as an artist is Charles Olson, the poet and essayist. The kind of metaphor that photography creates is frequently more akin to poetry and music than to painting and drawing. I am a museum hound. I go to the Metropolitan Museum regularly and visit works of art that have become my friends over the years. I am fed by that. Agnes Martin at DiaBeacon is a visit my wife and I make approximately once a month. And I never fail to have an experience of spiritual nourishment when I spend time in front of her paintings. I did paint and draw in art school for several years. I consider the arts different ways of getting to the same place, something about what might be true.

11. Do you have specific visual triggers which get your photo juices going? When you're out shooting, do you respond automatically to certain subjects? If so, do you regard that as a good thing?

I think the most powerful visual trigger would be in the name of what I do, which is to "draw with light"—photo-graphic. I'd like to take the word 'automatically' out because I feel that in trying to use more of myself, intuitive, emotional, physical response, I'm more able to get to something essential in my work. I think in my more successful photographs, it's not so much the subject as the quality of the abstraction and the tension between the two.

In photography and in writing, you need a subject (story). But it's not always the most important thing either in the writing or in the photograph. In painting or music you don't need a subject. And, in fact, in music, you're frequently better off without one. The idea when I'm out photographing is to have the least in mind possible because if I have too much in mind, I'm looking for photographs that I've already seen —either my own or other people's.


from In A Box Upon The Sea, 2016, Philip Perkis

12. Who is the primary audience for your photographs? Who do you have in mind when you make them?

I don't consider an audience when I'm working. I try to make my work as "close to the bone" as I can. I'm sometimes very surprised at who appreciates my work and who relates to it. It's frequently people who are not involved with photography at all. One of the things I'm attempting to do in my practice is to try to take a position psychologically and spiritually in allowing something to come through me (following my muse). It is what I'm trying to do, sometimes with a degree of success.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that I don't crave attention and want to be known and respected as an artist. I think whoever denies that is a liar. But making the work and putting the work out into the world, I try to keep as two quite separate activities.

13. For which photographers has your appreciation shifted (in either direction, toward fondness or away from it) the most over time?

Coming into photography in the late 1950s, I was clearly very influenced and in awe of Robert Frank—both his photographs and early films. Over the years, my relationship with his work has diminished somewhat because I feel, especially in his later work, that sentimentality has taken the lead. He's 91 years old and I still respect him and feel a debt toward him. (He also helped me get the Guggenheim.) In the late 1970s, I met Helen Levitt and I liked her very much for her matter of fact quality. She's one of the most direct people I ever knew. I started printing for her in the 80s and continued until close to the end of her life. I've never met anyone who was more precise about their work and about the way they lived. I think Helen is one of the great artists of the 20th century—and under-appreciated. So many people think of her as a photographer of children, and she didn't even like children. Several years ago Lawrence Miller Gallery mounted a show alternating Helen Levitt pictures with Cartier-Bresson's. There was no comparison in depth and complexity of vision, although Cartier-Bresson was a great photographer and is certainly in the canon.

Possibly by coincidence, both Robert and Helen are 'street photographers'—and I am not, although I take a lot of pictures 'on the street.' Stieglitz is still the best, and always has been.


Guanajato, Mexico, from The Sadness of Men, 2008, Philip Perkis

14. How has the loss of your vision in one eye altered your photography?

The eye I lost was my left eye, which was my dominant. I was devastated. And I felt it was over. It took several months before I could physically move the camera to my other eye. I slowly started to photograph again. It changed my life and it changed my work. It drove me to a more inner place in myself. My vision is now much closer to the way a camera works. A camera has one eye. But it's changed the way my brain works. The right brain controls the left eye. My spelling has improved, not that it's any good. My pictures have become, in some ways, less visually complicated, more emotional and more atmospheric. It's been eight years so I don't see it anymore as a problem. I've also aged so I'm not sure which is the monocular vision and which is getting to be 80, but I still think I'm doing strong work and I hope to keep going for awhile more.

15. Why was your recent book In a Box Upon the Sea published in S. Korea with Korean translations?

In the late 1980s and early 90s many Korean photographers came to Pratt graduate program and, for some reason, we could really relate to each other on many levels. I felt a kinship with many of them—and still do. One of those photographers was a woman named Taehee Park. She is an amazing photographer. We became friends, and when I was writing the Teaching Photography, Notes Assembled book, she asked my permission to translate it into Korean. I was, of course, honored. (I know absolutely no Korean language.) She took the translation to Korea and got it published by the publisher that did most of the photography books in Korea. It became a huge success and I have been invited to Korea four different times to give lectures and have shows. Taehee Park started her own publishing company, Anmoc, and took the rights back from the publisher and re-published the Teaching Photography book with the addition of several of my photographs. It continues to sell well in Korea and is still in print in the United States through RIT Graphic Arts Press. Taehee has become quite well known as a translator and publisher. 


Sample spread from Teaching Photography, Notes Assembled, 2005, Philip Perkis
She has also published a small limited edition book called A Single Photography: 20 Days, 20 Comments, which was initiated and designed by Owen Butler (a photographer and dear friend from Rochester). In that book I looked at and wrote about one of my photographs every day for twenty days, and sent the writing to Owen every day so I couldn't edit.

Taehee then published my newest book In a Box Upon the Sea with Korean and English text. She is going to publish my next book, which will be re-examined never-before-printed pictures from Mexico from the early 90s.