Joel Smith is the Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Morgan Library and Museum. (April 2019)


A Mind in Line

Saul Steinberg: The Line (detail), 1959; a spread from Steinberg’s The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth

by Saul Steinberg
The Labyrinth is the Saul Steinberg book that was in the house when I was growing up. I must have been about seven years old when I first opened it on my lap. Despite lacking text of any kind, this book told even a child that it was meant to be leafed through from start to finish.

People Watching

New York City, circa 1940; photographs by Helen Levitt

One, Two, Three, More

by Helen Levitt, with an introduction by Geoff Dyer
The “street” in “street photography” does not refer to a location or a subject; it identifies an idiom. A street photographer walks into situations nobody controls in order to discover what can be made of them as pictures. She commits to contingency as a coauthor, as war photographers do, but …