Featured Post

Pinned Post, A Policy Note:

I have made a decision to keep this blog virus free from this point forward, at least until the smoke clears. This is not a judgement about ...

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Lol

Here's a piece that appears in some irrelevant arts publication, which is getting passed around a little as very important and insightful. It's a fairly easy read. Let's see how important and insightful it is.

Paragraph one. An inauspicious start, as it is gibberish. Yes, it's some sort of allegorical blather, aiming to draw out some sort of "my art is separate from me, and yet connected to me" as if that was special, except that this describes literally 100% of all the art ever made. Moving on.

Google reports a shocking 2 hits — total — for the complete sentence "Where do you locate your art?” one of which is this mess, the second being some PDF from the 1980s, on monoskop. I suppose some people might like to say it, but to be perfectly honest, I am dubious. Then we repeat the sentiment of the first paragraph, only moreso. Somehow the art is "not exactly there, but is in excess of there." whatever that might mean. Nothing, obviously, except that our writer is a bit overwrought.

The third paragraph is a bit vague. Does Kuo mean that his art, specifically, derives its meaning somehow by its perpetual failure to be pinpointed? I think yes, that must be what it means, rather than something like all art, or some other category of art. Given that Kuo's art is, basically, apps for phones, I confess that this bit is a little hard to follow. It seems honestly like it's right there in the phone, on that one chip. Or not, whatever, where is the art in a Monet, reeeeally? Surely it exists in the liminal space between the viewer and the canvas, or some similar bullshit. Again, whatever the hell Kuo means here it probably applies to Monet and everyone else equally, and it remains completely opaque what any of this has to do with the derivation of meaning.

Next graf. The meaning has a complexity that something something. What is "its [the meaning's] formulation" exactly? Is this somehow related to the perpetual failure to be located exactly? Honestly, I'm not seeing a hell of a lot of simplicity to belie here, but maybe this notional simple formulation is something Kuo hasn't told us. At this point anything is possible. Anyways Kuo's gestures emerge from nothing, cool.

Then they go somewhere, in the next graf. "There" I guess. Where else would they go?

And now the favorite device of the shoddy art writer, the next graf opens with the pronoun "This" which could refer to pretty much anything, but whatever it refers to is definitely a fiction, which certainly doesn't narrow the field down at all. It's probably not "the art" but whatever it is is filled with meaning which somehow it lends to the art. "It follows that..." it most certainly does not follow. This mouths the approximate noises of an argument, but is certainly no such thing. Let us graciously assume the conclusion, unsupported as it is, that "something [presumably the art, Kuo's art?] is meaningful because it comes from nothing."

Next graf, I can get behind this one. The idea that something's meaning is fluid if its own nature is fluid seems reasonable to me. So, yeah, if we're unsure what the hell it is, its meaning could grow. Presumably we are, again, talking about Kuo's art again, though how we got from an imprecision of location to an imprecision of nature is completely opaque to me. This is again a standard device of the shoddy art writer: talk about X a lot and make some pretend arguments about X and then just act like you were talking about Y all along. Given that the arguments about X were trash in the first place, it's not clear what this accomplishes, rhetorically, but whatever.

At this point we begin to move past what appears to be largely linguistic meaningless posturing, and move on to something a little meatier. I will now drop the paragraph-by-paragraph nitpicking, and look to the larger shape of the thing.

Kuo begins to discuss "value" without bothering to unpack that. Is this monetary value? Some abstraction of value like social value? Kuo seems to think that value should somehow relate to labor, which is bonkers when we're talking about art. This feels like a superficial and pointless nod to Marxism. Kuo wants to break that labor down into individual gestures, whatever "gesture" means, for some reason. I guess the total labor is after all the sum of all the little bits of labor, so somehow the (undefined) value is to relate to the sum of the (undefined) gestures?

There seem to be several problems in here, but let us soldier on anyways, again allowing the conclusion: some useful notion of "value" is equated to the sum of the "gestures" of making the art. Each gesture is a little snippet of labor which, recall, crosses over from Kuo to some difficult to pinpoint "there," and the whole acquires "meaning" somehow or other in the process, either because the gestures come from nothing, or perhaps because "there" is hard to pinpoint. Kuo's gestures generate meaning by their... motion(?), and are summed up into value, and obviously art is somehow a result as well.

Honestly, it's not clear how much any of this matters because at this point Kuo will not be returning to any discussion of gestures or labor.

Now we come to what seems to simply be a personal crisis "oh no, I think it might not actually be worth anything" and a cry for a buyer, to "redeem" the value of the labor, that sum of the gestures. "Value" remains a bit vague, but we're maybe closing on on a cash-value as, at least, a proxy for whatever inherent value Kuo is talking about. A buyer will appear in due course, but will not really help Kuo out.

Following this we have some mysticism around "code" describing the ERC-721 interface, and some stuff about tokens being things that are owned. This is a false mysticism. Land deeds, for instance, have exactly the same properties, along with quite a bit of other nifty stuff like subdivision. NFTs are, essentially, what deeds would be if they were invented at 2am by a drunken idiot, and implemented in software by another drunken idiot. Kuo should not be bamboozled here. Kuo writes code. Kuo is attempting to bamboozle you with pseudo-mysticism.

We get a sort of clumsy analogy launched here where NFTs come from nothing just like Kuo's gestures, and recall that it is the coming from nothing that imbues Kuo's art with its meaning, except when it's the mystery of location that does that. Or maybe both do. But yeah yeah, meaning isn't value, and NFTs aren't art. Ok. Kuo will not be returning to the analogy, despite the fact that he obviously spent the entire article up to this point specifically setting up the analogy, which he has just dismissed.

Some symbolism around zero, which seems inappropriate here since zero is just what we programmers call a "magic number" in this context. It's a special number, which when used in a specific context, alters the meaning of mechanism from "move this thing" to "create this thing" (which is terrible programming practice, by the way, but these are crypto-bros designing this shit, so of course. Remember the 2am drunks? Those guys.) so zero in this context is not worthless, it is literally a mystic sigil that alters behavior of the NFT-machine. But whatever, moving on.

Amusingly, in the very next paragraph Kuo implies that NFTs are eternal, but if he'd actually read the code he links to, he'd see that Transfer()ing something to that worthless zero address destroys it. Create NFTs by moving them from zero to somewhere, destroy them in perfect symmetry by moving them back to zero. So, I dunno what the hell he's on about here. I mean, sure, nobody does that. But they could? You could presumably write a smart contract that destroyed the thing after 10 sales. Banksy? Paging Mr. Banksy?

Now we're on to obsessing over value, which, yeah, is a thing? I'm not quite sure how we got from the mechanics of ERC-721 and the metaphysics of zero to suddenly people are freaking about about what their NFTs are worth, because "They believe in something" but here we are. It's certainly true, they do, and they do. This statement, though, comes completely out of the blue and is in no way connected to anything Kuo has said earlier. He might as well have said "And also, cows poop" which is equally true.

Ok, ok, a token's value is held in the destination wallet, uh huh, uh huh. Wait, now we're talking about a token's meaning? Kuo has literally never even hinted that NFTs have meaning, but suddenly we're hip-deep in analysis of their meaning. "Oblivious to nothing, an NFT collapses meaning into a sum." Speaking of... uh, meaning. That sentence doesn't. Seriously, it just doesn't mean anything at all. It's gibberish. Is this a reference to things having meaning because they come from nothing? Does this apply to NFTs as well as Kuo's art? Kuo insists that tokens must mean something because they are purchased, which, frankly, does not appear to follow at all. Kuo has insisted that value and meaning are distinct, and up until this moment mentioned nothing about an NFT except its value.

At this point Kuo's philosophizing around NFTs is just a car crash. There's just random shit all over the place that might once have been a point, but it's all fucked up now for sure and some of it is on fire.

Ok now we get into what appears to be the crux of the thing. Kuo is upset that people are buying NFTs of his art as, apparently, investments. They don't love Kuo, they're just hoping to make a quick buck. More complaining, a nod to web3 (no, web3 doesn't mean anything, it isn't anything, it's just a trash pile of buzzwords) and a little race baiting for flavor.

This makes Kuo feel like NULL which is bad, and then some more gibberish about a gap between 0 (zero) and nothing, which is bad, and which mutates in the very last line into a gap not between nothing and something else, but left by nothing. Unless that is somehow a different gap?

Look, I know it's just sort of allegorical poetry but this sort of shoddy language makes me slightly crazy. Even Shelly wasn't this shoddy, if he had a gap twixt his heart and his gizzard, it did not suddenly become a different gap although it was wont to be compared with dozens of other gaps.

All in all this appears to be Kuo wanting to be loved for his labor, his loving gestures which make art, his intense furrowed brown that imbues his art with meaning, and now he has these dickheads buying his shit as an investment, and that makes him sad. It's not clear whether he's sad that they're dickheads, or that they're buying his art as an investment.

All the business about 0 and NULL and ERC-721 seems to be irrelevant. This is exactly what would happen if some dudes were buying Kuo's art in a gallery and having it drop-shipped directly to their Swiss Vault.

This is the big important think piece? Or art whateverthefuck? I don't even know what this is supposed to be, let alone what it's supposed to mean. When you peel away the gibberish and the pointless analogies that lead nowhere, you're left with some dude whining about how NFT bros are buying his art in a way that makes him feel bad. I dunno, he could stop offering NFTs of his art?

As an aside, fulcrum arts somehow manages to combine a very modern feel with an almost geocities insensibility to design, it's almost incredible how bad their site looks while still sporting that very 2021 Wordpress Template flavah.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Success!

About once a year some sort of information leak occurs, and I receive evidence that They have been complaining to one another about how Problematic Molitor Is. However frequently it occurs, it certainly happens a lot more often than someone actually complaining to me about How Problematic.

Now, to be fair, They have horrible OPSEC because They are dumb, but I cannot imagine I am learning of more than a small percentage of the complaints, by which I deduce that there's a surprising amount of locker room gossip about How Problematic Molitor Is.

Which I think means that, by the incredibly low bar of "photoland," I am not merely a critic, but a successful one.

I do hope there's some sort of statuette! I don't need a big ceremony, but some sort of recognition would be nice. I'll be checking my mailbox for an invite!


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

By Request

I also make meals, shelving units, photographs, and books.



Halloween's a-comin' girls, get your pants on.

How Much Art do we Really Need?

An oft-repeated complaint in the Art Community is the lack of sufficient funding, usually government, for the arts. Art, as we all know, is a good thing, and as a society we should have a lot of it.

So far, so good.

Further, for the cost of one shitty fighter aircraft we can do a great deal of arts funding, and since the airplane is arguably a net loss to society, maybe we ought to fund arts instead. Setting aside the fact that the airplane is, essentially, a thoroughly successful make-work project, this again seems fairly sound. Fewer military jets, more sculptures.

What I have not seen addressed is what on earth we are supposed to do with all this art.

If we increased funding by, oh let's go crazy, say 10x, we would presumably have many times the amount of contemporary art being made. Probably not 10x, but maybe 2x or 3x, and the artists would be a lot less stressed out. It's not clear who would be waiting tables at local restaurants at this point, but again, let us set that aside along with the "military procurement as a very complicated welfare project" problem. Maybe the out-of-work aerospace engineers will wait the tables.

Free markets are pretty damn good at one thing: working out what the demand for some product is. The verdict is in on the subject of contemporary art, and that verdict is "not much." The general population doesn't much care for contemporary art. They like classics, blockbuster shows from previous generations and previous centuries. To be fair, if you've looked at much contemporary art, it's obvious why.

So let's suppose we get 2x as many books of glum photographs, 2x as many projects involving epoxy and body hair, 2x as many paintings in whatever the abstract painting theory of today is, 2x as many angry sculptures of whatever politicians have the prog-left in a tizzy today. What happens to all this shit? As of now most of it ends up in a dumpster within a few months already. It doesn't sell, nobody is interested, the artist gives up or stops paying rent, and into the dumpster it goes.

I will stipulate that making art is good for people, even if the art does go straight into a dumpster. That said, I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of a government funded "work-as-therapy" program, at least not unless everyone gets to play, which just turns into Universal Basic Income.

My dark suspicion is that the artists calling for more funding generally would be satisfied with simply redirecting the current funding into their own pockets. If the funding did increase, producing more art which nobody wants, they would quite likely propose that the problem is that the public is not educated enough to appreciate the art, which raises the uncomfortable spectre of re-education. I dare say only a few critics would actually advocate for art-education internment camps; but I am nearly certain that virtually all of them would blame the public comma education-of for the near universal disdain for epoxy-and-body-hair projects.

I say this as a guy who is constantly making shit. I make crappy things, I make beautiful things, I make practical things, and sometimes I make some pretty decent art.

However, I do not presume to inflict my work on everyone. I do not hew to the belief that my work deserves to be archived forever, no matter how good it is. Even if it's really really good, there's probably better work, more important work, more appealing work out there. In the competition to be archived, displayed, appreciated, I do not expect to win. It would be unreasonable to expect to win, there's so much excellent work out there.

So, I get the desire to make things. I get the desire to be paid, even to make a living, making things. What I don't get is how that actually works in society, at some vastly increased scale.

What the hell would we actually do with all the art?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Question of Ethics

This piece is being written with an eye to a slightly larger audience, so I beg my regular readers' indulgence as I bang on about a few points that you're probably exhausted with. Also, less swearing than usual, and again, I beg your forgiveness.

This photo is being passed around on twitter, with the accompanying caption, and has sparked the usual re-iteration of everyone's opinions.



I intend to produce nothing like a definitive answer, although my opinions may creep in from time to time, but rather to provide some food for thought. Let's think about this photo.

First thought, the photographer, if the caption is to be believed, was being sneaky. Being sneaky is never a great idea, whether you're photographing someone, or cheating at dice. On the other hand, this doesn't really reflect on whether the photo ought to exist, where some uses of it might be ok, and others less ok, and so on. Nevertheless, the photographer is a sneak.

What about the photo, though? How does a photo work anyways?

A photograph is a talisman which conjures its subject. We react to the photograph, in an attenuated way, as if we were there with the subject. This is in contrast to a drawing, a painting, a verbal description, none of which evoke this visceral response. It's not magic, of course, the subject does not feel our eldritch gaze or anything like that. But, when we look at this photo we are as-if present in the subway, with the mother and children.

(Set aside abstract photos and photorealistic paintings, if you don't mind)

The mom has consented, implicitly, to be seen. She has not consented to be conjured in this way.

As photographic subjects, we know at some level this power of the photo, and (sometimes) we object. We may gesture in a way to specifically indicate I do not consent to the making of this talisman, with its power to conjure me. No. Not everyone reacts this way, not everyone reacts this way all the time. Nevertheless, social convention is that we ought to be permitted to withhold this consent. The law varies, and often does not agree, but social convention is commonly in that direction.

Note that the "harm" the photo does is not of the order of violence. The functioning of the photograph is more on the order of a rudeness, something like a stranger butting in on a private sidewalk conversation. When we look at the photo, the mother does not feel our gaze, it affects her not at all. Nevertheless, if she knew of the photo, she would know that the talisman exists, she would know that, in this one-way, attenuated, fashion the presence of she and her children can be conjured at will.

I did it just now, pasting the photo in up there. I am as guilty as any of us. I conjured her presence, for myself, for you, without her consent, and in defiance of social convention. I am being rude, right now.

Let's think about rudeness.

Sometimes it's OK to be rude. You can shove a total stranger, if you're shoving them out of the way of a speeding automobile. You can butt in to a private conversation to let someone know the train is boarding.

With a photo, every time you look at the picture it's a new pseudo-presence, a new pseudo-interaction. Most of the time we're just butting in.

What if the mother and children were leaving the country, never to return? Their relatives might appreciate this photo, this notional usage might be more akin to "your train is boarding!" than "MY OPINION IS!"

It is also a very beautiful photo. Bordering on extraordinary. Perhaps as a parent I am biased. I am happy to have seen it, my life has been in a trivial but real way improved. The world is in a trivial but real way improved by the addition of this little beautiful object.

Do these things cancel on another out? If there is enough benefit accrued, does this cancel out the lack of consent?

I don't think so. I mean, we can't help but add things up and weigh them, can we? But the fact that the train is boarding and that this is useful information does not make the rudeness go away. It is rude to butt in. The information was helpful. We can weigh one against the other if we like, but both remain perfectly true and unchanged when we do that.

The photographer is a sneak. Neither mother nor children consented to the making of a talisman to conjure. Neither mother nor children are particularly harmed by the talisman they did not consent to. Some uses of the photo might be excellent things, others terrible, most are more or less neutral. All these things are true, they overlap and interconnect, but I do not see how anything cancels anything else. They simply are.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Analog Ignorance

Something I see now and then is someone asking a mildly, but not wildly, obscure question related to film photography. How do you unstick this thingy, or why do my negatives look like this, or whatever.

Invariably, this question is asked of people who have presented themselves as experts on film photography, and just as invariably, the experts have no idea, but prattle on at some length.

It is as if this is lost lore, which now the brave post-digital film photographers, the pioneers trekking across the desolate wasteland that is all that remains after the DSLRcalypse, must now reconstruct these technologies from scratch. Except that they don't. This stuff was widely known and talked about 20 years ago.

Some of us are still alive!

I don't know all the answers to these semi-obscure questions, but I do know that the answers to all of them were well known, and indeed are still well known to slightly older gentlemen. There are answers to be found in the archives of, say, photo.net, or in actual books, and so on. This knowledge has not been lost, it's exactly where it was 20 years ago.

It's just not known to the self-styled experts of the digital age, who apparently cannot be buggered to even go find out, but who just make shit up, or suggest that the answer is dark knowledge, never known, too dangerous to be known now

They'll go on and on about their bloody Leicas and how to develop film badly in coffee, but they don't know anything about why your negatives look like that, or how to unstick the things.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Guest Post: David Smith on Endless Plain

I had bought Tony's book, received it, and already looked through it with the intention of writing something about it, when David sent me an earlier draft of this indicating that he was also reviewing Tony's book!

I read nothing of this material before I published my own remarks, and then turned to his latest draft, which delighted me (naturally) and which I am sharing with you now below:




The Trouble With "Photobooks"
(and a review)

By David Smith

Our Host Andrew Molitor believes "photobooks" are the Holy Grail of photography, because 'all the photographs have already been taken,' and this burgeoning midden of derivative work may yet be organized into an infinite variety of (hopefully) more interesting "photobooks." I think this is meant to give renewed purpose and meaning, in Our Host's febrile imagination, to the strangely pointless busywork that photography has become, among aspirational “Art” photographers.

I have a love-hate relationship with "photobooks." To begin with, I reject the run-together spelling. I mean, are "photobookcritics" so jaded and lazy they weary of hitting the space bar? Plausible, given the output. Let them keep their cutesy little nonword, I'm having none of it.

I just bought sight unseen a new, hot-off-the-press photo book, "Endless Plain" by Tony Fouhse. I had stopped buying the things several years ago, due to a coals-to-Newcastle home situation: I own plenty already, maybe 20, now 21. There are limits. With few exceptions, latest addition being one, the photo books I own are histories, exhibition catalogs, compilations, and monographs (the usual suspects). The newly-purchased photo book is the au courant kind. This article started out to be a review of it. Hold that thought, I will eventually circle back to it.

I also like to make photo books. I've built up my own, sizable midden (an early photo acquaintance called these things "photo morgues") that cries out to be 'curated' – another word debased through misuse and overuse. I'm psychotically fond of my most recent productions, I begin to see flaws in earlier attempts. But I digress.

I've read a shit tonne of "photobook" reviews, and chased down online images of the photos, the better to see for myself what the fuss is about. Based on the preponderance of evidence, most of these books would be better not printed. My photo books (i.e the ones I make) are virtual, online, and FREE to download. For photographers who can actually turn a dollar at this little pastime (both of them), such an approach is a non-starter. For the rest of us, it's the only thing that makes any kind of sense – so please stop foisting your little hobby onto Planet Landfill !

Sequencing, the [black] Art of

As someone who has essayed the photo book, albeit in an unprinted format, "sequencing" – picking photos out of the midden, and arranging them in order – is an aspect (the aspect, some would have it) I have also turned my hand to. It is the subject of much rumination, angst, and online workshops offered by the self-appointed "photobook" experts of "photoland," the fathomless social media blob of sad bastards with nothing better to do.

For those who may be interested, this is where the real money in photo books is: teaching rubes how to make 'em.

"Sequencing" a photo book has been likened to editing a motion picture – if all the shots were stills, there was no sound, and precious little action, not even Ken Burns-style “action.” Instead of watching a movie on a screen, putative consumers of this art form are looking at a book: the model falls at the first hurdle.

The typical photo book "sequence," photographs often related solely by authorship, is more like "free verse" poetry; seemingly random juxtapositions adding up to not much more than a bound collection of random photos. An acquired taste, feigned by the players in this space, who truly are more interested in gaming social media 'likes' than coherent products or commentary.

What's the Prize, Again?

For creative pursuits, we must consider the motivations of all the players: the artists, middlemen, and consumers. I put it to you that the main consumers of photo books are…photographers (and their moms, I concede). Most people who collect photo books, or are even cognizant of the notional publishing genre, have skin in the game. They are seeking a foothold in social media strata. This is a problem. Scratch that, it’s the problem.

Anyone who is not in denial, or hasn't been living under a rock, knows by now the catastrophic harm (no joke, no exaggeration) visited upon human society by social media.

But how, specifically does social media determine the shape of photo books and the way(s) they are perceived? Of course, photographers/publishers want to generate interest in, and sales/distribution of their products. In order to rise above the noise of a gazillion “photoland” releases (remember all those workshops), they resort to increasingly desperate and absurd measures, to which photographic values are suborned and bastardized. Thus photography is ‘elevated’ to a kind of social science, or is ‘revealed’ to be “fake.” The science is indeed faked; this is the fault not of photography, but rather the particular practitioners and their social media cheerleaders, dissenting takes routinely blocked.

So here’s the drill: shoot a bunch of photos (or ‘discover’ a bunch of someone else’s photos); “sequence” a selection from said photo midden; self-publish (e.g. Mack, Blurb) at your own expense and/or via fundraising; beat the social media drum; get a shout out from whichever gatekeeper(s) you’ve groomed; sell some books (maybe); eat the loss (probably); rinse, repeat.

Want to play this lottery, to win, I mean? You better have friends in high places, and deep pockets.

“Endless Plain” by Tony Fouhse, the photo book I bought

The above may be read as a preamble, looking through “Endless Plain” prompted me to write it out. Credit where it’s due, eh? Also, just so we’re clear, none of the above applies to Tony Fouhse!

In his book, Tony provides no text explaining what the book’s about. Fine, it shines through anyway. It does have an afterward by Daniel Sharp, which I would characterize as speculative; one person’s reading of the photographs.

Tony does write a subscription-based (free) e-newsletter “Hypo,” and a Twitter account with occasional promotional announcements about Ottawa art events, brief conversations, and (most importantly), out-of-the-blue, enigmatic pronouncements concerning what he does and (more often) doesn’t like about contemporary photography. If I had a Twitter account, I’d want it to be just like Tony’s, acerbic and spare. Alas, I’m certain it would instead be a train wreck.

Tony tweeted recently, “I don’t want my photographs to look like, or allude to, paintings.” This is pretty salient to interpreting “Endless Plain,” and it piqued my interest. For the record, though, I think painting is an incredibly rich source of visual ideas for photography, and vice versa. The two media have been trading/stealing such since photography’s inception as camera obscura. It’s inescapable? So yeah, that’s a proverbial mike drop right there. Um, also … Daniel Sharp is a painter.

The photos are reproduced in straight-up halftone (not duotone), with maybe a 133 or 150 lpi line screen – I can make out the dots with my naked eye. Myopia has its advantages. Deep shadows and highlights are a tad attenuated in some few shots. This turns out to be the perfect vehicle for “Endless Plain.”

Daniel Sharp’s afterward describes a mood for the book, and how (for him) it functions like a “storyboard.” My take: the mood is dark and ugly. The sky by turns sullen or glowering. A building sports a crown of thorns. Corpses wrapped in winding cloths are stood up at the edge of a wood – a warning? An ageing pop diva spreads sequined wings over high-voltage power lines. A disfigured hand paws at a shoddy Jesus rug/tapestry. And so on. I find myself wondering, how would these look in colour? Some cosplaying actors offer brief respite, here and there. Weird is better than dark, right? This is all quite interesting, and thought-provoking. The world, what we’ve made of it, is a horrible place. And that’s here, in Canada! Ouch.

Does it work as a “storyboard”? Not for me. There’s no narrative glue holding this thing together; it’s all mood music. Maybe for a funeral.

Looking over Tony’s oeuvre on tonyfoto.com, it’s easier to place this book as a part, and only a part, of his vision, his aesthetic predilections. This book adds something to that, it fills out ideas hinted at in previous projects, with something a bit more definitive and final. It’s pretty near in mood to “After The Fact” (another of his books), but that was in colour. I think he needed to see how the mood would work in black and white. Pretty well, it turns out.

I don’t get any sense that Tony has (or ever had) some urgent message for humanity. This is just how he sees it.