Reviews Molly Nesbit’s Atget’s Seven Albums for the Times Literary Supplement; it is the only thoroughly negative response he ever writes:
“Nesbit seems unaware that artists . . . rarely begin substantial . . . pictures out of an interest in a concept. . . .
I think she should have looked longer at the trees.”
“Among the facts that matter: the smell of coffee, the call of geese, the blue of wild asters.”
“Art should finally be encouraging. That’s the promise that brings people to museums. And since lies are finally discouraging, that means art should be truthful.
Truthful and affirmative, presumably even about what has happened to most of the landscape. I wonder if I’m up to that anymore.”
—From notes made in 1993
Awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.
Publishes a letter in Aperture, objecting to biographical pieces the magazine has run about artists Adam Fuss and Joel-Peter Witkin,
but particularly to Witkin’s slaughter of a cow to make “art.” He writes, “Pictures that involve serious, avoidable animal abuse by
photographers are rarely defensible in any way. The ends pursued turn out to be, by some mathematics of the spirit, almost invariably
trivial (even if announced histrionically) or [socially] harmful, often amounting to little more than a statement of unresolved confusion or horror.”
Publishes Why People Photograph and Listening to the River.