In the previous parts of this series I've tried to provide some food for thought on such subjects as the personal vis-a-vis the political, the political vis-a-vis the issue-oriented, the responsibilities of artists as artists and artists as citizens. I've done so by weighing three well-known cases, positioned on a sliding scale. At one end Jerry Uelsmann, entirely inward in his concerns, addressing nothing we would usually define as an issue, political, if at all, only by default. At the other end W. Eugene Smith (and his wife Aileen), addressing a situation from a culture not his own or ours and engaging with its social, legal, economic, and medical ramifications, all of them inarguably "issues". And, somewhere in between, Robert Frank with his outsider's impressionistic take on a culture not his own but inarguably (speaking here as an American) ours.

The three photographers I've centred on all strike me as exemplary

This article appeared in 187 on March 2014. Buy here

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