This is a slim little book of essays by photographer Robert Adams. I’ve often thought that the best writing about art comes not from professional critics and academics but from true fans or people who actually practice the art form about which they’re writing. Adams’s book only supports that opinion. My favorite line: “[Photographers] may not make a living by photography, but they are alive by it.”
I adore this book of photographs and text by Wim Wenders, much of which he shot while doing research for his films, which include Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas, and Buena Vista Social Club. Its title comes from the idea that photos don’t create ongoing moments, to steal the title of Geoff Dyer’s book; more than anything, they tell you that this happened once and will never happen again. Wenders concludes his volume:
“Once is not enough,”
I used to say as a kid.
That seemed very plausible to me,
“once upon a time.”
But when you take pictures,
none of that applies.
Then once is
“once and for all.”
This store in the middle of the Marais in Paris could be notable for its collection of Vogue back issues alone. But it also happens to have an excellent selection of old photography books and is not to be missed if you’re in Paris and care at all about visual culture, fashion, photography, or seeing.
Comptoir de l’image 44 rue Sévigné, 75003 Paris
This exhibit, curated by Peter Galassi at MoMA in New York and currently in San Francisco, is an excellent retrospective of Cartier-Bresson’s work—the earliest of which makes possible so much of what has photographically come after. In a time when photojournalism needs to defended against skepticism, this exhibit is, perhaps, the best argument we have for its importance and relevance. You cannot come away from it as anything but a believer in photography.