Stephen Frailey | Looking at Photography

"In a way the book is almost a valentine to a group of pictures and also a group of people…a community of people who have been engaged in redefining photography."

Stephen Frailey and I talk about his new book, Looking at Photography published by Damiani Books, an homage to John Szarkowski’s Looking at Photographs. While it uses Szarkowski’s format, it is very much Stephen’s own ideas about photography distilled from many years of lectures, critiques, and conversations he has had with his students. We also reminisce about our early days at the School of Visual Arts where we met, me as a student and Stephen as a newly hired Professor.

This episode is sponsored by the Charcoal Book Club, a monthly subscription service for photobook enthusiasts. Working with the most respected names in contemporary photography, Charcoal selects and delivers essential photobooks to a worldwide community of collectors. Each month, members receive a signed, first-edition monograph and an exclusive print to add to their collections.

Stephen studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and received his BA from Bennington College. He has had solo exhibitions at 303 Gallery and the Julie Saul Gallery and group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; International Center for Photography, New York; and the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC.

His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Arts Magazine, ARTnews, Artforum, the Village Voice, and the New Yorker, portfolios have appeared in Artforum and the Paris Review. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; the International Center for Photography, New York; and the Princeton University Art Museum.

He has received two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant and an Aaron Siskind Foundation Grant. He has been a visiting artist at the Donald Judd Foundation and twice been nominated for a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant. His critical writing on photography have appeared in Artforum, Print, and Art on Paper. He was the Chair of the Graduate photography program at Bard College from 1998 to 2004, and has been the Chair of the Photography Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York since 1998. He is also the co-chair of the MPS Fashion Photography Program at the School of Visual Arts. In 2003, he founded the Auction for Photographic Education in Afghanistan to create a photography department at Kabul University. He is the co-founder of the Art+Commerce Festival in New York.

In 2007 he founded the photography magazine Dear Dave, and is its Editor in Chief.