I just finished reading a few interviews with Tod Papageorge. And I must say, though I tried to see some merit in his endless references to poetry and his philosophy regarding photography, I found none.
In some cases he parroted Winogrand to such an extent I wondered if there is any substance uniquely his to be found. Indeed it is the current Winogrand retrospective at SFMOMA that set me on this effort to study more about Papageorge. While they were close friends and may well have shared the same view point and philosophy regarding photography, I see no worth while similarity or reasonable comparison beyond that.
I admit I haven't seen a great number of Papageorge's images but those I have seen have not inspired me to seek out others. He seems to have done well running Yale's photography program and inspired several students through harsh criticism on to notable careers in photography, but when asked ( Kolby Yarnell, New York Times Magazine Nov. 25, 2007) why he only recently started publishing books of his work, his response was, "Nobody called." I hope this wasn't a tactic he taught his students: Make your photographs then sit back and wait for ecstatic waves of recognition to pour over you.
I must say I'm not impressed.
Photo: ©2013 David W. Sumner