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Photo Op: John Szarkowski's Art Vision

Photographer John Szarkowski worked as photo curator for New York's Museum of Modern Art from 1962 to 1991. In that role, he became a huge influence on how photography is perceived as an art form.

Szarkowski was himself a photographer, yet he never made it the focus of his life. Now his own photos are the subject of an exhibition that opened last week at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art.

Chris Rainier, a staff photographer for the National Geographic Society, talks with NPR's Alex Chadwick about the retrospective and Szarkowski's continued influence on the aesthetic of photography.

Rainier says Szarkowski, maybe more than anyone else, created the notion that photographers are not merely technicians or observers — they are artists.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exhibit of Szarkowski's work runs through May 15.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alex Chadwick
For more than 30 years, Alex Chadwick has been bringing the world to NPR listeners as an NPR News producer, program host and currently senior correspondent. He's reported from every continent except Antarctica.