A.D. Coleman: An Interview
1977 | 00:23:11 | United States | English | B&W | Mono
Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews, Single Titles
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A. D. Coleman started writing regularly on photography in 1967 for the Village Voice, at a time when very few critics took the medium seriously. His work, according to Joel Eisinger, qualified him as perhaps "the first postmodernist critic" in the field. After his tenure at the Voice, Coleman became the first photography critic at The New York Times, and has since published in numerous publications internationally on mass media, communication technologies, art, and photography. He has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar and Getty Museum Guest Scholar, and has received awards from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie and the Center for Creative Photography, among other recognitions of his important critical work. Coleman is Executive Director of The Nearby Café online magazine and the bi-monthly online newsletter C: The Speed of Light.
In this interview, a decade after he began his column in the Village Voice, Coleman evaluates the historical moment in photography at a point when the medium is gaining institutional support and recognition. He looks back on the critical tasks of the late '60s, and the new work to be done in 1977, in part resisting the ‘crypto-critical’ distortions of arts institutions and the elevation of academic experience (e.g. self-referentiality over relevance). “I would hope that the emphasis in photographic education would be to teach everybody to at least make those images in their own lives more effectively, so that they might be able to communicate more articulately, more powerfully some of the poignancy of being human and passing through time as we do,” Coleman says. He furthermore discusses those developments in the decade of his critical work that he finds most significant. These include the freeing of norms surrounding photographic technique, and photography’s role in new art trends like the growing prevalence of artistic autobiography.
A historical interview originally recorded in 1976. Re-edited in 2009.