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A New History of Photography, Invisible City, Oculus, The Geometry of Innocence

The On Shadow Interview


I had the opportunity to sit down with photographer Ken Schles a few weeks ago to discuss some ideas that had recently been bouncing round my head and how they related to some of the ideas discussed in his books.  We started talking as soon as I arrived at his home, but I wasn’t able to get my recorder out quick enough to catch everything.  Nonetheless, as you’ll see below, we had a long, engaging discussion touching on a whole variety of themes… [I should note that all hyperlinking has been added by me to further some of the points we discussed]

Ken Schles: The evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel’s piece on Edge.org talks about the Internet collapsing different kinds of space. Obviously we know how the Internet collapses physical and economic spaces(brick and mortar commerce vs. e-commerce; the ability to contact people or do work remotely), but Pagel talks at length about how the Internet collapses intellectual space as well. This reinforces what he calls, our “infinite stupidity.” The Internet encourages social tendencies that reinforce infinite stupidities…

But he also notes evolution works intrinsically because of its stupid nature. That evolution creates stupid variations that work or fail in the most unpredictable of ways. And sometimes those stupid “failures” turn out to work so beautifully well in the most unimaginable ways.

Read more…

About kenschles

Ken Schles is the author of Invisible City (1988; reprint 2015 and 2016), The Geometry of Innocence (2001), A New History of Photography: The World Outside and the Pictures In Our Heads (2007), Oculus (2011) and Night Walk (2015 and 2016). His work has been nominated for the Deutsche Börse Prize, exhibited by The Museum of Modern Art, noted by the New York Times Book Review, cited in histories of the medium (Parr/Badger, Auer & Auer, 10x10 American Photobooks) and issued by some of the foremost publishers of our time (Steidl, Hatje Cantz, Twelvetrees Press). They're considered “intellectual milestones in photography” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), “hellishly brilliant” (The New Yorker). Ken Schles’ work is included in private and public collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Rijksmuseum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museo d"Arte Contemporanea (MACRO) Testaccio Museum, and more than 100 other museum and library collections world-wide. 
 Ken Schles is a NYFA Fellow. http://www.kenschles.com


3 thoughts on “The On Shadow Interview

  1. Reblogged this on Espacio de MANON.

    Posted by manonmona | March 29, 2012, 10:23 pm
  2. This publication has inspired me to carry on focusing on my own blog

    Posted by what are vitamins | March 30, 2012, 1:09 pm

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