Thursday, April 21, 2011

Philosophers Through the Lens

Steve Pyke, a contributing photographer at The New Yorker.  The second volume of “Philosophers,” with more than 100 portraits, will be published by Oxford University Press in May 2011.  Here is an article written by a photographer, part of whos profression is to document philosophers so that they will not be forgotten.


     I have spent almost a quarter century photographing philosophers. For the most part, philosophers exist, and have always existed, outside the public spotlight. Yet when we reflect upon those eras of humankind that burn especially bright, it is largely the philosophers that we remember. Despite being unknown at a time, the philosophers of an era survive longer in collective memory than wealthy nobleman and politicians, or the popular figures of stage, song and stadium. Because of this disconnect between living fame and later recognition, we have less of a record of these thinkers than we should. Our museums are filled with busts and paintings of long-forgotten wealth and beauty instead of the philosophers who have so influenced contemporary politics and society. My aim in this project has been the modest one of making sure that, for this era at least, there is some record of the philosophers.



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