If looking at photographs is a pleasurable activity, it is pleasurable in a complex, transformative, frequently unsettling sense. It is not pleasure unalloyed, for no profound pleasure is pure…Like many truly enriching pleasures…photography has its dark, troubling, even dangerous aspects. –Gerry Badger
The Pleasures of Good Photographs is an intellectual and aesthetic excursion led by Gerry Badger, one of the field's eminent critics and popular writers and the author of more than a dozen books including both volumes of The Photobook: A History. In this new volume of essays, Badger offers insight into some of his favorite images, artists and themes, drawing upon nearly three decades of experience writing and thinking about photography. With deep discernment and a readable blend of scholarly finesse and wit, Badger elucidates works by dozens of photographers, from Dorothea Lange and Eugène Atget to Martin Parr, Luc Delahaye, Susan Lipper and Paul Graham. Among the broader topics discussed are the photobook, where Badger believes photography sings its loudest and most complex song, and Photoshop's role in art-making. An interlude at the heart of the book pairs the author's evocative meditations with nearly a dozen particular images. Alongside some of Badger's classics, The Pleasures of Good Photographs showcases primarily new essays, making it an important addition to the canon of photographic writing.