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Late faculty member Allan Sekula memorialized among peers

In Memoriam: Remembering the Photographers We Lost in 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013
By Mia Tram

There are some who would argue that every picture a photographer makes is a self-portrait, whether they intend it to be or not. What did this photographer mean to show us of themselves with a particular picture? What did another one unknowingly reveal? These questions resonate most fully when recalling the photographers we’ve lost each year — some better known than others, but all worthy of remembrance.

For photographers, the camera is a tool of existential negotiation. Regardless of the genre in which they work, they use the camera to mediate what is before them with what lies within. The best pictures are not a statement of fact, but a fully formed and articulated opinion. “Every man’s work,” wrote the English novelist and critic Samuel Butler, “is always a portrait of himself, and the more he tries to conceal himself the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him.”

The photographers we lost this year pursued their craft with rigor and passion. Nearly all photographed until the very end, which for some came all too soon. They lived their lives with, and to varying degrees through, their cameras.

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Allan Sekula
California Institute of the Arts
CalArts School of Art
documentary photography
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