chapter
Michals, Duane (1932–)
Pages 17

More than any other photographer, Duane Michals is obsessed with the passage of time and, in his quest to portray in pictures such an essentially non-pictorial concept, he breaks most of the rules of “high art” photography. His most striking individualisms, his blurred figures in motion, his storytelling photograph sequences, his addition of text in the margins are all related to the attempt to carry the image beyond the moment, to “unfreeze” still pictures. Even his use of handwritten text furthers that purpose because we tend to be subliminally conscious of the time it takes to handwrite something, whereas typeset text seems to leap full-blown into existence. All these characteristic Michals-isms are generally frowned on in formal photography, which subscribes to the concept “A photograph, like any work of art, should stand on its own without requiring outside references to be understood.” Michals disagrees.