John's Reviews > Light Readings: A Photography Critic's Writings, 1968-1978

Light Readings by A.D. Coleman
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Feb 10, 12

bookshelves: books-i-own, essay-collection, general-nonfiction
Read in November, 2003

The Best Book Of Essays On Photography I've Read

I wish I had read A. D. Coleman's "Light Readings" years ago when I was studying photography. I have no doubt I would have become a much better photographer than I am now, taking to heart his profound commentaries on photography when it became accepted finally as one of the fine arts. Not only was A. D. Coleman the first major photo critic in photography's history, his early essays set a literary and intellectual standard which few have attained. In this newly revised, updated edition of "Light Readings", Coleman offers us some fascinating remarks on the Museum of Modern Art and its pivotal role in shaping the direction of fine art photography, most notably through the personal tastes of John Szarkowski, its autocratic director of the photography department. In one of the unpublished essays now appearing in the current edition, Coleman offers a harsh criticism of a book regarded by some as an important collection of photographic criticism, written by a well known novelist and essayist. Those interested in reading some of the most important themes and issues confronting photography in the late 1960's to mid 1970's will find Coleman's book an invaluable resource. And yet, it is more than just an important first-hand history of photography, but a thoughtful, penetrating look at the medium by one of its most astute critics.
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