We Don’t Celebrate Living Photographers Enough; Just the Dead Ones

When is the last time you went to a gallery event or museum exhibit dedicated to living photographers?

If you ask any landscape photographer who one of their favorites is, I’m positive they’d say Ansel Adams with nary enough of them waxing poetic about how fantastic Varina Patel is. And for portraiture shooters? You’re bound to get endless talk about Avedon and not enough about the more specialized work of Lois Greenfield. When it comes to street photography, everyone is quick to talk about Bresson with little speaking on the genius that is Adam Miller. Why? Is it marketing? Partially, the answer is yes, but the other big answer is that the gatekeepers tend to spend too much time focusing on the work of dead photographers. Getting a bit deeper into this, they spend too much time trying to ensure ticket sales to those of white men–not enough women or photographers of color (but the latter is for a completely different article).

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