New technologies now allow people of varying levels of artistic experience to alter and transmit images to a growing number of viewers. This is a time to embrace and observe new forms as they emerge. It is also a time when historians, teachers, and artists who have expertise in photography are needed all the more—to place new work in context and to separate an initial infatuation with a process or an artist’s body of work from the sober consideration of its place in the history of photography.
— Whitney photo curator Sylvia Wolf on the continued need for curators and critics in a digital world. I love the phrase “initial infatuation” to describe the ways web users fall in love with images before understanding their place in the canon or in the historical spectrum. Perhaps the canon is being blown apart, but I also still like to have someone tell me: this is good, and this is WHY. No one who really adores a work of art has done so out of context. And sometimes, the context is the entire work. You can glance at a person and decide you want to spend your life with them, but it’s only after reading their diary, meeting their family, digging below, pushing them, fighting back, placing them in a spot, that they will ever become a part of you. The same is true for me of art.