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Photographer As Mystery

February 25, 2012

Errol Morris has been a hero at the vanguard of quirky approaches to justice (made a film that freed an innocent man on death row; followed that up with a film that led a famous statesman to be able to acknowledge his war crimes), but has never been noted as a hero within the wider popular culture.

Smithsonian has an article about Morris (click the image to the right to go to it) that will not likely change that, but it does have one of the most fascinating paragraphs you are likely to read about a film maker who writes extensively, especially about photography:

Born in suburban Long Island, Morris graduated from the University of Wisconsin. After a stint of cello study in France, he talked his way into the Princeton graduate philosophy seminar of Thomas Kuhn, an icon of postmodernism, the man who coined the term “paradigm shift.” It wasn’t exactly a meeting of the minds. In fact, it almost cracked Morris’ skull, which is what Kuhn seemed to be aiming to do at the climax of an argument when the esteemed philosopher threw an ashtray at Morris’ head.

If you are a fan already, and also a subscriber to the New York Times, and missed his series titled Did My Brother Invent E-Mail With Tom Van Vleck? –don’t miss it.  It is long, amazing, and very moving.

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