John Szarkowski: Photography’s Curator

John Szarkowski, called “the single most important curator that photography has ever had” by Vanity Fair in 2005, has died from complications of a stroke. He was 81.

Szarkowski served as director of photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art from 1962 to 1991, where he emphasized the “casual, spontaneous nature” of photography. He was also an influential critic, having authored The Photographer’s Eye and Looking at Photographs.

For more on Szarkowski, here’s a 2006 interview with LA Weekly, an earlier interview published at, and a collection of Szarkowski’s photography.

(Photograph by Lee Friedlander.)

[tags]John Szarkowski, photography curator, Museum of Modern Art[/tags]

2 Responses to “John Szarkowski: Photography’s Curator”

  1. I trying to get answered the following question on Mr. Szaarkowski. When he was shooting 35mm both in his younger days and when he retired what kind of cameras did he use. Was he a rangefinder photographer such as contax or leica? I read so much including his books but couldn't find an answer. I even contacted his successor at the Moma on NYC but I haven't been graced with an answer. Please point me in the right direction.Thank you don greenfield 914-528-2656

  2. Don -

    perhaps from his knowledge of Adams and his experiencing things throughout the changes in the technology of photography as described here:

    Mr. Szarkowski might just have experimented with various cameras - film and formats for himself with his own work -

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