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The Serpent, from Passing Through Eden by Tod Papageorge

The Serpent, from Passing Through Eden by Tod Papageorge

For me, one of the great streams in the history of photography is the so-called ‘narrative’ stream, and it was very important to me to reinforce the sense of that.  It’s not a good word, ‘narrative’; it’s not the best word, but I don’t know what the best word would be.  In any case, it’s very important in terms of the way I read and see photographs.  Photography is not a simple illustration, and maybe the most important thing is that it forces an intelligent viewer to think about the relationship of the photograph to so-called ‘reality’ or ‘truth’.  If you’re reading a photograph as a tale, then what does that have to do with whatever was out there in the world?  It’s this transformed thing.  And that’s always been my obsession while teaching at Yale as well, so I’ve had students like Gregory Crewdson and have been an effective teacher, because I was certainly never talking about photography as a deliverer of the ‘truth’.  It’s all fiction to me, whether it’s a complex one or an illustrational one.

– Tod Papageorge, from ‘Park Life’ – an Interview with Tod Papageorge, 2008 by Aaron Schuman found at

Papageorge’s monograph, Passing Through Eden is on reserve in the library for you to look at if you didn’t get a good chance to during class.

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