Friday, October 1, 2010

It's all about to be there at the right time

Just like the rest of most undergraduate students, Dan Leer had no idea where his future would go when he just got into college.  In his lecture From Lawrence to New York Art World, he showed us his way of fumbling in order to reach his career goal. I think his success in his career has a lot to do with capturing the right direction of where he wanted to go at certain period of time. It also has something to do with the non-stop exploring of what's in front of him. Nothing can be planed, you just have to be there at the right moment. Just like Henri Cartier Bresson's works, they were all captured at the certain moment at the right time. In his lecture, he spent a large portion of time talking about Henri Cartier Bresson, who travelled all around the world documenting what he saw with photographs. Bresson captured lots of historical scene including the communism invading Shanghai in China during the time he was in China. One of the most famous works is the decisive moment, which shows the moment a man jumping over a pond. I think capturing the right moment is what photo journalism all about. 

Cartier Bresson The Decisive Moment

I also found this montage about Bresson's prints when he was in America, from the video you can see that he is a master at capturing random and decisive moments.


Dan Leer first started developing his interest in the medieval art from the ancient illuminated manuscript from his class. After he took a intership in an art museum in New York in Junior year college he discovered more passion for medieval art. When he went back to Lawrence, he had an independent study studying ancient Greek coinage. He realized that photography and art history are what he wanted to do in the future. So he took photography and made a great thematic series of prints called Blue Collar Bullshit depicting his anger about people being rude to construction workers. By the time he finished Lawrence University, he left Appleton for Portland, Oregon. Shortly after that, he got a job in the museum of city of New York as a photo collector. By this time he realized that he needed to study more to get a better job in a bigger museum, so he enrolled in a program in Columbia College. During this time, he finished another great project about dating basket in the supermarket. Just when he was unsure about what job he can get after graduation, Museum of Modern Art offered him a job the day he got his diploma.

From all his experience I can see how important it is to keep exploring and be ready to capture what is in front of you. The philosophy is extremely similar to the essence of Cartier bresson's works. Later after Dan Leer started working in Museum of Modern Art, he curated both traditional and contemporary photography.


  1. I agree, it's important to keep exploring, I also feel if you have a solid sense of what you want to do, jump right into it before it's too late. Some people waste time, trying to explore many options at liberal arts schools and at times, they get overwhelmed and confused with what to do.

  2. I also agree with you and Marvanna. Just like what he said at the end of the lecture. In paraphrase: You all should experiment and try everything here. There is no better place for you to explore your options. Just go ahead and take the classes that you never thought you would, you might just dicover something new.

  3. In both cases, it seems a lot about putting energy out there and making a point to interact, learn, reflect and keep looking.