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Warring Impulses: Photography's Documentary and Artistic Strains | The Nation

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Warring Impulses: Photography's Documentary and Artistic Strains

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From its inception, photography ignited debates about objectivity, artistry and, ultimately, authenticity: can a beautiful image also accurately capture a moment in time? Can a documentary photograph also be an object of thoughtful reflection? As Jana Prikryl explains in her article in The Nation's Fall Books issue, Erosion: On Errol Morris, "photographs, first and last, freeze time"—so how can any moment of time be less authentic than any other?

About the Author

Francis Reynolds
Francis Reynolds
Francis Reynolds is The Nation's Multimedia Editor. Contact him at frank at thenation dot com.

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In this audio slide show, Prikryl goes back to the beginnings of photography to explore how the medium's warring artistic and documentarian impulses first arrayed themselves in opposition to each other, and what they reveal about the distinction in the first place

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