In recent years, documentary photography has fallen out of fashion. The critical arbiters in museums and galleries favor pictures that are constructed in a studio, lifted off a computer screen, generated through digital manipulation, assembled from prior photos, anything other than directly shot outside the photographer’s door. This self-involvement is akin to the turning away from realism by novelists that Tom Wolfe, in a much-discussed 1989 essay in Harper’s, bemoaned as an abdication of both responsibility and power. With photography, the solipsism is even more dispiriting, because, as Graham says, “The world matters. this is the core of photography, engaging with life.”

Photographing Life as It’s Seen, Not Staged

Documentary photography, which fell out of favor with the rise of manipulated images, is making a comeback, on view at the International Center of Photography. Here are some names to watch. According to legend, when the Roman Catholic Church forced Galileo to recant his astronomical proof that the earth revolves around the sun, he muttered, “But still, it turns.”

URL: Photographing Life as It’s Seen, Not Staged