Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Errol Morris on Robert Fenton's Crimea War photos

7 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Fascinating stuff.

Part one. Additional resources. Part two. There will be a part three and, possibly, part four.

The OFF photo:

21morris_OFF.533.jpg

The ON photo:

21morris_ON.533.jpg

The photo against the landscape 150 years later:

stillofpicture-copy_533.jpg

The landscape itself:

stillofroad-copy_533.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Peter, thanks for posting this! When does part 3 come out? do you know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

yank_eh wrote:

: Peter, thanks for posting this! When does part 3 come out? do you know?

No idea. I've got Morris's blog in my news feed, so I just get the updates as they come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Ladies and gentlemen, part three.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Who's zooming who?

When I wrote about Fenton myself, here on Slate, I repeated Sontag's claim, somewhat unthinkingly, I have to admit, at least in light of Morris' vetting. He was more skeptical, and in fact he writes about 25,000 words, over three posts, about his efforts to determine the truth of the accusation. That is about three times the length of a very long magazine article, and Morris digresses a lot; he pulls in maps and charts, he delves into Ruskin, the Cuban Missile Crisis, some notes on the history of fashion; he notes the difference between the Valley of Death and the Valley of the Shadow of Death (they were apparently two distinct places); he travels to the Crimea to see the scene for himself; and he quotes, at considerable length, a series of interviews he conducted with various photography experts, curators, computer scientists, and historians. At one point he reproduces a picture of his Crimean tour guide's shoes, and I would tell you why, but I'm not quite sure myself.

Jim Lewis, Slate.com, November 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Morris book on the Crimea photos (along with others) is finally out.

NYT review

"Before his filmmaking career took off, Morris had a day job as a detective, and he urges us, here, to read his essays “as a collection of mystery stories.” That’s easy advice to follow. As the de facto protagonist of his own book, Morris reminds me of no one so much as Sherlock Holmes, for whom private investigation was a form of practical epistemology. Like ­Holmes, Morris believes that truth can be revealed by impartially attending to details overlooked or misinterpreted by others. Like Holmes, he is patient, compulsive and unafraid of legwork. Of the Fenton photographs, he writes: “My hunch was that the lighting and shadows on the cannonballs might be the key to ordering” the images. “I wanted to experiment with lighting the cannonballs from various directions, replicating the directions of the sun and time of day. But first I needed an 1850s cannonball.” Off he goes to find one."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0