On Hope & the photograph. I just discovered Peter Schjeldahl talking about John Berger talking about Franz Hals in this week’s New Yorker as part of his review of the Met’s current Hals show. Schjeldahl and I wrote about different Berger essays on Hals, and I spared you Berger’s political theory in the essay I read (“The Hals Mystery”). Schjeldahl thinks Berger’s political reading of Hals in the essay he read amounts to a projection that “belittles Hals as an individual.” I could tell Schjeldahl enjoyed Berger’s ideas about Hals, and I enjoyed Berger’s way of addressing both Hals’s class-consciousness and his existentialism. Maybe it’s all a projection, or maybe Hals wasn’t prophetic of only photography.
Speaking of which, Schjeldahl sounds like he would agree with Berger at least about Hals and photography: “Hals showed them how candid technique could serve the direct registration of people and things as they really appear: art as an adept performance, in a streaming present tense.”