Geoff Dyer

This is—or should that be “These are”?—how the future of photography might look. The history of the medium, in common with most technologies, is largely about ever-increasing speed. In the nineteenth century, exposure times were so long that moving people and objects became either blurred or completely invisible. But it wasn’t only shutter speeds that got faster. The intervals between pictures were also reduced, from the cumbersome preparation of individual collodion wet-plate negatives to rolls of film containing 36 frames.

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In a boxing match, the combatants are rarely more than a couple of feet apart. Even the punch that separates them absolutely—the moment marking the difference between victory and defeat—unites them in brutal intimacy. That’s one of the reasons why boxing is relatively easy to photograph.

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74 people spent Christmas trapped in this block of ice.

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Establishing shots from every cold war scene ever filmed here made Moscow the epicenter of a massive and massively bankrupt Empire of Evil, in ideological opposition to democracy and freedom. Freedom, it turns out, to dump an enormous Louis Vuitton trunk in the middle of Red Square. Lenin must be spinning in his nearby mausoleum, unless that has been turned into a Gucci or Cartier franchise, too. In which case, he might have been reinstalled in the Vuitton pavilion—might even be for sale. 

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One’s first thought on seeing this—“Hmm, cool picture!”—turns almost immediately into a second: “Wish I could go to that place and see it for myself.” What the image suggests most powerfully is that (if I may be permitted simultaneously to invent and translate one of those useful German compound words) the-experience-of-being-there-would-be-better-than-looking-at-this-picture-of-there. The photograph, in plain old English, is only a high-quality substitute for being surrounded by these bits of the Berlin Wall as they await sale on the twenty-fourth anniversary of its fall.

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A beautiful shot of cliff-diving in Thailand.

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Windows on a Parade

This incredible photo of a South Korean office building actually tells a story

In each issue of The New Republic, Geoff Dyer meditates on a news photograph and its meaning. 

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Flags of the Resistance

What I see in this incredible photo from Syria

In a broken Syrian city, symbols of life’s resilience—and America’s predicament

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