Saturday, October 26, 2019

A Bizarre Coda

In a bizarre coda to this piece I wrote some time back, about Buck Ellison's photo of "The Prince Children," I would like to report that, somehow, Daniel Blight seems to be promoting, or at least not denying, the bizarre idea that the children in the picture are Betsy DeVos's actual children. To be precise, another artist who I will not embarrass by naming, stated this as a fact, and Daniel made a followup comment on the statement which appeared to confirm it (without quite actually doing so, Daniel's remark appears to be carefully calibrated.)

Someone told this artist this "fact" and one imagines that it might have been Daniel? I don't know.

The children in the photo apparently comprise three girls and one boy. Betsy's children are two boys, two girls, all much older than the children in the photo. Betsy is 61 years old, her children are grown. There is simply no question that the children in the photo are not the DeVos children. They are models, on a built set. That is Buck Ellison's method. It it what he does.

This theory is therefore insane and wrong. It does fall in with Daniel's curious unwillingness to mention that the Buck's photos are staged. Now, Daniel has used this picture and others in the same series in a book he edited, The Image of Whiteness, about something something whiteness, so he has an interest in a particular reading for these pictures. I have not read the book, and am not much interested in it, so I cannot tell you what reading he's vested in. But he is surely vested in some reading.

Is Daniel simply mistaken? Did Ellison make some joking remark that Daniel has taken as factual, and not bothered to check up on? Or is Daniel knowingly propogating a falsehood here?

I find it especially odd, because it clearly doesn't matter. Ellison's mission with this picture, and the others in "Tender Option," are more or less aligned with Daniel's ideas. Whether the people in the picture are actual DeVoses or models surely cannot matter much? It almost, but not quite, makes me want to read Daniel's tome to try to discern what could possibly matter about this here.

The remarks I make here should serve, I suppose, as a sort of pro forma marker of objective reality here. I don't feel like I can just let this sort of thing lie, entirely. I could dig around more and kick up a bigger fuss, but that seems to be tending toward just trying to make trouble for Daniel. He may be a dolt, he may be disingenuous, but I am not that unkind, I guess.


  1. Daniel may well have made an innocent mistake but he greatly overreaches himself in bestowing a knighthood on Fox Talbot ( "Sir William Henry Fox Talbot, the imperious Knight of the British Empire"). I think he made that up, for effect. A number of accolades were bestowed upon Talbot - membership of the Royal Society for one - but as far as I know he was never called to nobility.

    1. (Andy left several followup comments indicating that sources appear to differ here, but that his best efforts lead him to conclude that Talbot was in fact never knighted -- I do not think Andy wants these moderated through, but I did not want his efforts to go unremarked)

  2. White Blight is a thing, or maybe more of a cottage industry.