Archive for the ‘Reviews etc’ Category

Against Facial Recognition

Sunday, August 16th, 2020

I’m not sure if you need this. But for some people in some countries it could be very important, assuming that it works. I’ve always been very open on-line, posting only under my real name and everything I post is public. I’ve been careful though only to post things that I don’t mind everyone knowing about me.

As a journalist I’ve had some advice and training on privacy issues, particularly on messaging and e-mail, but haven’t ever felt I was in a situation where I needed to put this into practice. But I do sometimes worry a little about my pictures on line and how these might be used to build up profiles of some of those present by legal or illegal groups, including the police who are already making use of facial recognition in various city environments.

There have been various attempts to block facial recognition, both through the courts and through various subterfuges, including the use of masks and special makeup. Covid-19 has surely added to the problems faced by Dynamic Neural Networks in recognising individuals and whereas wearing a mask was often a criminal offence now you may be fined for not doing so.

What is new about Fawkes (it gets its name from the ‘Anonymous’ mask) developed by a team of students at the SAND Lab at University of Chicago is that it is the first tool to enable us to “protect ourselves against unauthorized third parties building facial recognition models that recognize us wherever we may go” that “gives individuals the ability to limit how their own images can be used to track them”, able to defeat the tools used by systems such as https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/5dmkyq/heres-the-file-clearview-ai-has-been-keeping-on-me-and-probably-on-you-too clearview.ai using deep learning to identify individuals.

The team explain how Fawkes works (and for the technical there is a publication and source code available on the site)

At a high level, Fawkes takes your personal images and makes tiny, pixel-level changes that are invisible to the human eye, in a process we call image cloaking.

They go on to state that “if and when someone tries to use these photos to build a facial recognition model, “cloaked” images will teach the model an highly distorted version of what makes you look like you.”

Original
Cloaked

I’ve downloaded the software (a small file available for Mac and PC) and run it on a picture or two. It was rather slow – but my first files were large. I tried it again on a couple of 600×400 pixel images to post here, and it took around 100s to convert the pair.

The differences are real but pretty subtle – easier to see if you right click to download the files then view them one after the other in your image viewer. The change between the two in each pair then gives me a slightly weird feeling

But these were both images of a single person and I thought I’d try it on something rather more complex but the same size. Although it said it would take about 1 minute, 5 minutes later I was still waiting, and waiting…. I went away and did something else and I think it took around 7-8 minutes. There were small differences to most of the larger faces in the image but many appeared completely unchanged.

Original
Cloaked

The input files were all jpegs, but the output files are png, and have roughly five times the file size in bytes. They had also lost their various keywords and presumably other metadata. The files went back to a similar size to the originals when saved from Photoshop as jpg at an appropriate quality level, and it is these I’ve used here. Saving as jpg perhaps very slightly diminishes the differences.

I have of course no way of knowing whether the ‘cloaked’ files would – as the inventors say their trials show – provide at or near 100% protection “against state of the art facial recognition models from Microsoft Azure, Amazon Rekognition, and Face++”, but can only accept their assurances – and presumably their paper gives more details on their testing.

Fawkes is at the moment more a demonstration of concept rather than usable software, and you would have to be very concerned about your on-line privacy to treat pictures with it. But it does show that there are technical ways to fight back against the increasing abuse of personal data and its commercial exploitation by corporations.

Recently we’ve seen complaints being made by protesters about photographers putting their pictures online, with some arguing that their permission is needed or that they should be pixellated. While photographers rightly argue their right to photograph and publish public behaviour as a matter of freedom of speech – and the idea of claiming privacy seems to negate the whole idea of protest, I can see no objection to minor alterations in images which retain the essential image while frustrating AI-assisted data acquisition. It would I think be rather nice if Adobe could incorporate similar technology as an optional ‘privacy mode’.

Images used above are from My London Diary No War With Iran protest on 4th Jan 2020 opposite Downing St.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Patina and Photography

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

According to Wikipedia, “Patina is a thin layer that variously forms on the surface of copper, brass, bronze and similar metals (tarnish produced by oxidation or other chemical processes), or certain stones, and wooden furniture (sheen produced by age, wear, and polishing), or any similar acquired change of a surface through age and exposure.”

For his post ‘Patina in Photography‘, Jörg Colberg interprets the word a little differently, using it to refer to the qualities of any surfaces in photographs, something I might prefer to refer to as texture, but also extends it to consider the content of images.

The piece is an interesting discussion, illustrated with some of his own work, of what makes a “good picture“, something which he rightly says is “enormously difficult to describe” but is also “usually straightforward to see“, though I think we might often disagree with other viewers. Colberg continues to give what is I think a useful definition of “a good picture as a picture that makes a viewer look more carefully, that makes a viewer think.”

Colberg writes about the “lure of the easy picture” which captures many photographers – indeed all of us much of the time, including as he admits himself, writing “Mostly I now ask myself whether a picture challenges me. Not surprisingly, most pictures don’t. I still take them.”

He then discusses his different reactions to the very different cities of Warsaw and Tokyo, which he ascribes to their different patina. Colberg rightly comments that as photographers we react to what we see and chose to photograph because of our “background, culture, society…” but I think I would equally stress that what we have in the world to react to is also a product of these aspects, a different culture, particularly in terms of aesthetics, but also in terms of ideas about space and personal space.

Perhaps the most important picture I took in my early years as a photographer is one that I don’t think I have ever shown to anyone. Taken on a the building site of a new estate in Bracknell where I was then living, it showed a number of sewage pipes waiting to be installed. It wasn’t a great picture but it worried me because it stood out from the others I had taken that day and that in the terms that Colberg uses, it challenged me, though not at the point of taking, but when I saw it on the contact sheet and later as a print.

I couldn’t quickly find a copy of that picture, and I think it’s one I’ve never digitised, but probably neither you nor I would find it very interesting now, and if I had it to hand I probably wouldn’t have included it here. It wasn’t a bad picture – I was taking plenty of those – nor I think a particularly good picture but one that made me begin to think and study and change.

Lockdown, Legend and Value

Monday, July 20th, 2020

I have to admit that during the lockdown I have become very much centred around my own work and interests. Not feeling able to get out an meet other people and not being able to travel to my favourite areas have cut me off not just physically but also mentally from much of my outside involvements.

Because of my age and medical condition I don’t yet feel able to re-engage with the world in anything like the old ways, though I have made three short trips on public transport and visited when necessary several shops, of course suitably masked. And I am still in daily contact with many friends on Facebook as well as rather fewer through phone calls and online events,

But I still feel very withdrawn from many areas, and in particular from the world of photography. With very few exceptions I just can’t get interested in the various lockdown projects and online magazines and shows that have sprung onto the web. This morning I realised that it’s almost three weeks since I last went through the long list of web sites and blogs, many photographic, that I usually skim through every few days for items of interest or controversy and that in the past have often led me to express my thoughts on this blog.

It took quite a while to skim through hundreds if not thousands of articles and posts, though for most a quick glimpse or even the headline was enough for me to move on. There were just a few that interested me enough to stop and read more, and just a few to the very end. Military historian Charles Herrick in a 3 part post on A D Coleman’s Photocritic International comprehensively demolishes another of the confabulations about D-Day photographs, the legend of the duffel bag full of film from the beaches being dropped and lost at sea during transfer to a ship. As usual there are also other posts on the site of interest.

Joerg Colberg too almost always has something worth reading, and in normal times I would probably have wanted to add my pennyworth to his piece The Print, the book, the screen. I can’t bring my mind to it, but here is one sentence which might encourage you to read and think about it and the value of any photograph:

“In the world of photography, the value is almost entirely based on commerce and on a generally unspoken and widely shared sense of elitism.”

As someone who has never been a part of that elite I can only agree, though I think there are other communities outside that of commercial art dealers and the associated museums of the art photography world that value photographs. But as Colberg makes clear, he is focusing on art photography ‘When you see the word “photography”, you will always want to add “art” in front of it.’

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that there were so many of the other photographs and articles I looked at briefly and felt entirely superfluous; ephemeral, inconsequential and with little to say.

But one particular feature from the British Journal of Photography, published around a week ago did attract me, Marigold Warner‘s article ‘Hackney in the 80s: Recovering a forgotten archive of working-class life’ about the 2016 rediscover in the basement of the Rio Cinema in Dalston, established as a community non-profit arts centre in 1979, which in 1982 set up a radical photography project for local unemployed people, teaching them to use a camera and sending them out to photograph the local communities. Their pictures were put together as newsreels and screened as a part of the cinema programmes, before the commercial ads.

Unfortunately the Kickstarter fund-raising for the production of a book of these pictures finished on the same day as the BJP published the story, but by then over £32,000 had been donated to finance it and it will appear in November – you can pre-order ‘The Rio Cinema Archive‘ now from Isola Press for £25.

It seems good value; in my scale of things, the value of these pictures is rather greater than at least most of what sells for high prices in expensive galleries.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


London in Lockdown – Chris Dorley-Brown

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Many photographers have been busy with various projects taking advantage of the unique situations created by the Covid-19 lockdown, but the most impressive set of images I’ve come across so far are the hauntingly empty cityscapes by Chris Dorley-Brown which are featured in an article with the over-lengthy title ‘Chris Dorley-Brown’s photographs of London during lockdown are “terrifying and exciting in equal measure”’ on web site It’s Nice That.

These images of well-known locations from meticulously researched locations were all taken on weekdays, between the hours of midday and 2 PM and in the article Dorley-Brown says that they took him “about an hour each“. There are just a few people visible, mainly in the distance in some of the images, but they do convey an incredible feeling of emptiness and I imagine it took some time to exactly fine the best position and sometimes to wait for the few wanderers around the city to move into less conspicuous positions, and sometimes for the light.

There is something of a contrast between these and one of Dorley-Brown‘s earlier projects, The Corners, on his web site with other works, where he very effectively made use of multiple exposures to overpopulate the streets of East London in unreal but fascinating tableaux vivants.

Thanks to another photographer, Paul Baldesare, for drawing my attention to this article.


Photographers who have been able to keep working during the lockdown may be interested in a competition with free entry and a £1000 prize on the theme of ‘My New World‘:

The World as we knew it six months ago has been changing dramatically. Many people’s lives were put on hold, some endured hardship and loss, some had to reinvent themselves and perhaps have been working harder than before. There have been important social movements and appreciation of inevitability that we all facing a New World.  

This competition aims to collectively record the experience of people in the United Kingdom during and post lockdown reflecting new challenges and aspirations, bravery, kindness, love, sadness and humour. 

Launching Anna Steinhouse Photography Award

Entries – one image per person – are invited through Instagram until midnight Wednesday the 19th of August 2020. You can find full details of submission, terms and conditions at the link above

April Source

Monday, April 27th, 2020

If you are short of reading material for the remaining few days of April, you may find the Winter 2018 issue of Souce, available online until the end of this month, of interest.

Source, subtitled Thinking Through Photography, is a magazine published in Belfast by Photo Works North in cooperation with the Gallery of Photography. The issue which takes a look at privacy as it relates to photography is only available free to view on line until the end of April 2020, though of course subscriptions are available and give access to the current issue as well as a number of back issues including this.

Here’s a little from the magazine introduction to the issue:

“Culturally, our attitude to photographs seems to encompass our contradictory feelings about privacy today. We are increasingly intolerant of being photographed in public but ever more willing to expose ourselves in photographs online. This has political, societal and legal consequences that are explored in our interview with Camille Simon, a picture editor of the French news magazine L’Obs, and Laura Cunningham’s article on the evolving law of privacy.”

https://reader.exacteditions.com/issues/86924/page/1

This edition is available in full online and you can see the first few pages of the current issue which includes a feature on the Art Council’s photography collecting without subscribing.

Source has been published since 1992 and is described as a “a quality quarterly magazine that provides readers with a critical discussion of photographic practice and an appreciation of the importance of photography in the wider culture.”

Photographers recently featured in Source include: Victor Burgin, Hannah Collins, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Sarah Dobai, Richard Gilligan, Emma Hart, Anthony Haughey, John Hilliard, Karen Knorr, Sirkka-Liisa Knottinen, Hew Locke, Mari Mahr, Trish Morrissey, Suzanne Mooney, Wendy McMurdo, Mark Neville, Roger Palmer, Steven Pippin, Paul Seawright, Simon Starling, John Stezaker, Jane and Louise Wilson and Donovan Wylie.

https://shop.exacteditions.com/source

The page cited also includes a similarly long list of writers. It isn’t quite my photographic cup of tea but may appeal to some readers of this post. Again this was mentioned on the British photographic history blog.

78- Issei Suda

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Regular readers of this blog will know about my interest in and admiration for the work of Japanese photographer Issei Suda, and remember the post I wrote about him, Issei Suda (1940-2019) shortly after his death last year with some links to his work and writing about it.

A couple of days ago I came across a post on the British Journal of Photography online site, Issei Suda: 78 unseen photographs, which tells the story of how Cécile Poimboeuf-Koizumi, co-founder and director of Paris-based publishing house Chose Commune, wrote to Suda for the first time in January 2019 to ask about a new publication of his work. He was keen to cooperate, but sadly he died before she visited later in the year – but he had set aside a box of unpublished pictures for his widow to show her when she visited.

The book ’78’ presents 78 of these previously unpublished photographs taken between 1971 and 1983, typical of his work with its strangely unusual views of ordinary people and situations. It was only when she got back to Paris that Poimboeuf-Koizumi realised that the number of pictures she had selected for the book, 78, was also the age at which Suda had died.

You can see more pictures from the book on the Chose Commune web site, and it looks to be a finely produced work and a fine tribute to one of Japan’s most interesting photographers who received far less attention in the west than others whose work is rather more controversial and perhaps less intimate.

It’s a book I’m unlikely to buy myself as it is a little expensive at 55€ and I already have an earlier book of his work and a house with overflowing shelves and far too many books in it. But if you haven’t already met and lived with his work this is certainly worth considering.


A bargain for Bergamo

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

News today in a Facebook post from George Georgiou who is one of the many photographers taking part in a splendid initiative to help the Giovanni Paolo XIII hospital in Bergamo, the city most affected by the coronavirus in Italy, which has been inundated with patients.

The prints, on 30x20cm paper, large enough to hang and frame on your wall, are a great bargain at €100 each, and include work by some really great photographers. As well as those George mentions I noticed pictures by Susan Meiselas, Stanley Greene, Michael Ackerman, Christopher Morris and Ami Vitale as well as a number of other intriguing works by photographers less familiar to me. This appeal began with a hundred Italian photographers, but roughly double that have now joined. The big problem is deciding which to buy. Even if, as George is doing, you buy several.

Here is his post from Facebook:

Vanessa Winship and I, alongside a number of other photographers, including, Alec Soth, Mark Steinmetz, Paolo Pellegrin, Claudine Doury, Paolo Ventura have donated prints in international solidarity with Bergamo, the city most affected in Italy. The campaign was started with 100 Italian photographers, in 5 days they have collected €350,000, they have now added 50 international photographers to the list. All the money apart from printing costs will go towards providing new resuscitation and intensive care units at the Giovanni Paolo XIII hospital, which has been inundated with patients. All prints are at €100, there are at least 3 or 4 that we will buy.

Please support and SHARE
https://perimetro.eu/100fotografiperbergamo/

# 100fotografiperbergamo
#ospedalepapagiovannibergamo
@perimeter__
@liveinslums
@linkelab

Facebook post

Please think about donating to this cause if you can afford it – and you will also get a fine print for each €100 donation. The prints, unsigned and on Canson Baryta Prestige paper, will be made and posted as soon as the LINKE lab in Milan, one of the finest in Italy which is making them is able to resume normal work. The lab will take only the production and delivery cost of €11.50 from your €100 donation which can be made by Paypal or credit card – the rest will go to the hospital.

My Own Atget

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

I already have one Atget print hanging on my wall in my front room, not an original print made by the man himself, but an excellent high quality reproduction which was a special supplement to a US photographic magazine back I think in the 1970s, printed by a much higher quality process than the normal magazine. I also have another rather fine image by Josef Sudek framed and on the opposite wall; I think they are sheet-fed lithographs and they certainly have a remarkable quality.

I don’t think anyone who has seen them framed on the wall has ever taken them to be anything other than a normal photographic print, and certainly in many of the books on my bookshelves there are some fine examples of the printer’s craft, duotone and quadtone reproductions that are often equal and sometimes superior to the darkroom prints that are shown in exhibitions and sold for high prices by photography dealers.

Not all photographic prints are particularly good prints, and some ‘vintage prints’ that make their way into the hands of dealers were never intended to be so. Some are prints that were rapidly made with little consideration to be printed in magazines and newspapers, and many do not represent the image at its best. When I spent a lot of time in the darkroom I would often make half a dozen prints from the same negative before I arrived at the one which I thought was exactly how I wanted it. That was the print which went into my portfolio or onto the exhibition wall, but there were often others that were almost right that I couldn’t bear to throw away, and I think the same was true of many photographers in the past. And I’ve seen prints on some dealers’ walls which surely must have come from the photographer’s waste bin.

Things are rather different for most photographers today. Many actually produce limited editions of prints, either made by themselves or a professional printer that are more or less identical, and if working from a digital file exactly so. The kind of work we put into each print, including dodging, burning and retouching is now incorporated into the making of the digital file.

Photography is essentially a medium of reproduction. The calotype became more important than the Daguerreotype despite its technical deficiences because the negative could be used to make multiple prints, limited only by the time it took to produce them. And digital has taken that a step further, with the digital file that produces as many prints as you like itself being infinitely reproducible without any variation.

High quality digital files of a number of great photographic images have of course been available for some years, particularly of the work available in the Library of Congress collection. On my computer I have large digital files of a number of the best images made by Walker Evans for the FSA, of Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother and of many other fine photographs. Enough to make a fine gallery of photography.

I have only ever printed one or two of these files largely because I simply don’t have the wall space to display them – and what I have is already filled with other images, including both photographic prints by myself and others as well as a few painting and some reproductions of paintings.

Jardin de l’hôtel des abbés de Cluny, (actuel Musée National du Moyen Age), 24 rue du Sommerard, Paris (Vème arr.). 1898. Photographie Photographie d’Eugène Atget (1857-1927) Paris, musée Carnavalet.

But today I downloaded a rather beautiful Atget and there are many more online along with works by many other great photographers, particularly French photographers, as the City of Paris has made available over 100,000 of the works in its museums freely on-line as high quality 300dpi digital images under a Creative Commons CC0 licence, essentially dedicating “the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.

The CC0 licence is only applicable to “the reproductions of a work the author(s) of which died more than 70 years ago, after which time his/her works have fallen into the public domain, and which is the reproduction of a two-dimensional cultural asset the author of which died more than 70 years ago, a reproduction created by a photographer who has permitted Paris Musées to place the photograph under a CCØ licence or by a photographer employed by Paris Musées.” It also restricts you from selling the files, though you can use the images for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

As their press release states (in French), you can now download the “oeuvres des grands noms de la photographie (Atget, Blancard, Marville, Carjat…) ou de la peinture (Courbet, Delacroix, Rembrandt, Van Dyck…). ” And while for the painters what you are downloading is a photograph of their paintings, for the photographers it is something much closer to the orginal, enabling you to make excellent digital photograph prints.

So far I’ve only downloaded a couple of Atget prints from what must be a very large collection, as his main source of income was selling his prints to the Paris museums. I first became aware of his work in a Paris museum, where some of the prints in a display of historic Paris for me stood out from the rest, and there in the small print of their captions was his name. The image above was probably one of those that impressed me and made me want to find out more about the photographer when I visited the musée Carnavalet in 1973.

There is a slight problems to overcome in downloading the images, in that they come in ZIP files, the image jpg accompanied by a PDF about usage (in both English and French) and a text file with some image details and its source. Unfortunately those I tried have file names that are too long for Windows 7 to handle (eg: cartel_atget_eugene_jean_eugene_auguste_atget_dit_musee_de_cluny_24_rue_du_sommerard_5eme_arrondissement._jardin._ph6338_132304.txt) and I needed to use the free 7-Zip to access the files. I haven’t yet tried in with WIndows 10.

Sarah Moon – Orient Express

Friday, January 10th, 2020

I’ve never travelled on the Orient Express, but years ago one of my late friends, Terry King, got what seemed to be a dream job, working on an advertising commission for the company.

He’d gone to their offices with his portfolio of gum bichromate prints and they had sat around them in awe in their kaftans (it was then a rather new age company.) I’ve described elsewhere how Terry, Randall Webb and myself had all started investigating the process but Terry had evolved his own methods of progressing with the process, using several large paper negatives printed in different tones and colours and with carefully controlled manual development at each stage to produce highly pictorial results.

So Terry got a free trip on the Orient Express to Venice, where he spent a few days taking pictures before returning to his London studio and working on the results, producing prints to take back to the company. He went in to show them the results and immediately sensed the company had changed management; in place of kaftans the executives were now all in smart business suits and ties. They didn’t appreciate his work and the project was abandoned.

Terry did make some fine prints of his work in Venice, and some of them will still be hanging on people’s walls around the country, with sales through an art dealer in Richmond. (I have one of his pictures of London on my wall – we did a swap – but not of Venice.) Until recently you could see some of them on his web site, but that is no longer on line. The only example I can find is on the Silverprint web site, a company which supplies fine photographic materials – including some of the chemicals and sundries that both Terry and I used. It is a picture from Venice and I think is possibly a cyanotype over a gum image, though it could possibly be simply a gum using two shades of blue.

I have met Sarah Moon (above with photographer Joan Fontcuberta), though only fairly briefly when we were both speaking at the FotoArtFestival in Bielsko-Biala in 2007. We shared several meals at the event and had some long conversations and there are a few more pictures of her in my diary.

Sarah Moon with film-maker Nina Rosenblum and photo-historian Naomi Rosenblum

Which brings me – finally – to the reason for this post, Sarah Moon : Orient Express – Louis Vuitton Editions – which was featured on ‘The Eye of Photography‘. This is a book in their Fashion Eye collection, a series in which each “book evokes a city, a region or a country, seen through the eyes of a fashion photographer.”

LV is a French fashion house and luxury retail company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton, who introduced a range of luggage with flat-top trunks for travel, which meant they could be stacked, particularly on rail journeys – previously trunks had been made with rounded tops so that the rain would run off when they were carried on open waggons and carriages. The Orient Express which began in 1883 thus seems a very appropriate subject.

You can read about this book on the UK LV web site, which has the same selection of stills as ‘The Eye of Photography’. But if you scroll down the page there is also an over- rapid ‘page-through‘ video of the book, which gives a good idea of the size and layout of the work. And if you change the video to 1080px, make it full screen and stop the playback you can actually see and read the pages. Presumably you can buy it in their shops as well as on-line, but at £42 (including standard delivery) although it looks an intersting book I find it a little too expensive – like their luggage.

Homage or appropriation?

Friday, December 6th, 2019

As so often A D Coleman got me thinking with his look at The Waters of Our Time in his post Three Weeks in Bookworm Heaven (3), one of a short series about his recent 3 week residency on a Teti Photography Fellowship at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College in Manchester, NH, USA.

The book by photographer Thomas Roma and his writer and musician son Giancarlo T. Roma is very clearly based in its concept and design on the ground-breaking 1955 publication The Sweet Flypaper of Life in which photographs by Roy DeCarava were accompanied with a fictional text inspired by the images written by the poet Langston Hughes, who edited a larger selection to fit his writing. This was the first monograph by a Black photographer, and the publisher had been reluctant to publish it simply as a book of photographs but accepted the work with the much better-known poet’s name as co-author.

If you don’t have a copy of The Sweet Flypaper of Life you can get an idea of the book in another page turning video which shows not the original but the 1984 Howard University Press edition, and even the music is rather better and more appropriate than the Roma book linked above.

Not that Richie Havens version of the Jerry Merrick song “Follow” which accompanies that page-through is bad; it’s a great song but pacing the view of the book to it just doesn’t work, and the words are an unfortunate intrusion into the viewing of the pictures. Sentences from Merrick’s lyrics are also quoted at intervals in the text of the book – which accounts for the pacing of the video which more or less keeps up with there use. It’s quite hard to keep up with the pace reading the rest of the text, and I had to pause the video a few times both to look at the pictures and to read it.

Unfortunately, although there are some interesting images, too many fail to have much interest to me, and the juxtaposition with the images seldom seems to really make sense. Even the layout of the images and text, a feature of the original work, seems shoe-horned into an inappropriate format. Coleman has clearly studied the work at greater length and depth than I and in book form rather than the video, and it is hard to disagree with his conclusions.

Fortunately for those of us who lacked the foresight to buy the 1955 original of The Sweet Flypaper of Life, a near-facsimile edition with an afterword came out in 2018 and can still be bought new as well as second-hand.

You can also watch several short clips about De Carava on You Tube as well as a lengthy panel discussion of ‘The Sweet Flypaper of Life’ moderated by Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem -has an introduction to the book at around 19’12”, after which each of the panel, including A D Coleman, talks about their favourite image from the book. There is a set of his images on NPR, along with some links.