Bill Jay On Photography /essays and articles     page 1
To the reader: I have added the date of writing or first publication at the end of each article, where known. I confess to a laxity in keeping such records - the next article, the one not yet written, is far more engaging than the fate of past ones. Some of the articles have also appeared in my three anthologies: Cyanide and Spirits (1991), Occam's Razor (1992), and Sun in the Blood of the Cat (2001).

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Feel free to print articles for your personal use. Additional writings will be posted at frequent intervals.

Aaron Scharf: An appreciation
A Case of Spirits:
The origins of Spirit Photography
A.D. Coleman:
Defining the Peaks among the Plain
Introduction to his book, Critical Focus
After the Rapture:
Introduction to Michael Kenna's night pictures
Allen Dutton:
The serious side of humor
Animal knickknacks:
odd items from the 19th century photographic press
Ansel Adams:
A personal appreciation
Arcadia in Suburbia:
Greek influences on Victorian erotic photography
Arnold Newman:
A personal appreciation
Art vs. Ideas:
A book review
Artists- Rebels without a Cause:
Fine-art photography and commercialism
Beaumont Newhall:
Notes on a psychic experience
Bedford and Bertie:
The historical context for an otherwise indecipherable cartoon in Punch, 1862
Bill Brandt:
A true but fictional first encounter
Birt Acres:
"the first Englishman successfully to produce and publicly show animated pictures."
By the Light of a Putrid Haddock:
Odd processes in 19c photography
Book Of Revelations:
An introduction to Jerry Uelsmann's book, Approaching the Shadow
Charles Darwin and Everything Else
Cheap Portraits in Low Dens:
19th century studios at the "wrong" end of the social scale
Choosing and Losing
is a human condition, not the special problem of the artist
Confessions of a Feisty Romantic:
An open letter
Confessions of a Gallery Hater

Contemplating Venus:
Victorian sexual repression and its release through academic painting and photography
Cow Licks and Colored Lights
Wall label of an exhibition of my melted cameras
Creating a Viable Dialogue Situation:
About Talking
Cubist Photography:
A possible caption for a Punch cartoon
Dangers in the Dark:
Poisonings and explosions in 19c photography darkrooms
David Hurn:
A personal appraisal of a Magnum photographer
David Hurn:
Notes on his exhibition- Sculpture, Carvings and Controversy
Diane Arbus:
A personal snapshot
Do Not Disturb:
Photography, censorship and the Iraq war
"Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Jack!"-
A Jack Stuler Appreciation
Early Ballooning:
The first instantaneous photograph from the car of a free-floating balloon by Cecil Shadbolt
Emil Otto Hoppe 1878-1973:
A personal snapshot
Explosion of the Hindenburg:
"The most famous news photograph ever taken" - with notes on Sam Shere
Exposed to the Wind:
Why the wind direction affected exposures in 19c London
Family of Man Exhibition:
In defense of an unfairly maligned exhibition
Ferenc Berko
and the fickleness of fame
Fifty Thousand Photographs:
In praise of the exuberant Victorian exhibition
Footnotes to Fame:
Forgotten Victorians
For Richer, For Poorer:
Victorian studio extremes
From Magic to Mimesis:
The artist's quest for a faithful representation of a natural object prior to the introduction of photography.
George Bernard Shaw:
by Emil Otto Hoppe
Hat Cameras:
A late 19c snapshot craze
Heroes and Entrepreneurs
History of Photography:
the inside-out approach

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How to be Famous, Sort Of:
And why fame has nothing to do with it
Hypothetical Encounter:
A chance meeting alters photographic history
Images in the Eyes of the Dead:
Retinal photography in the 19c
Incest in Academia
and an appreciation of Myron Wood
Infantry Tactics:
How 19c photographers coped with babies
In Plain Sight:
The photographs of Beaumont Newhall
Jack Mitchell:
Photographer of Dance
Jack Stuler:
In the Nature of Things
Julia Margaret Cameron:
An Appraisal
The photographic effects of lightning in 19th century journals
When photographs are too personal
Madonna Made Me Do It:
How to appear profound when talking about your photographs
Magazine Memoirs:
Reminiscences of Creative Camera and Album magazines
Memento Mori:
Post-mortem photography in the 19c
Michael Smith -A Visual Journey:
Move a muscle and I'll Blow Your Brains Out:
Keeping sitters still for early portraits
Ms. Miscellany:
Feminine facts and fancies from 19 century photography
Myths and Legends:
from photography's shady past
Nelson King Cherrill:
one of the most respected names in Victorian photography, now largely forgotten
Original (and Reproduction) Thoughts:
Choosing Caponigro over Van Gogh

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