Guest Reading Shortlist 2.2.15: Jonathan Blaustein

Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite, 1865–66. Albumen silver print from glass negative.
Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries © Carleton Watkins

The Reading Shortlist is an occasional post with an eclectic listing of recommended sites, readings and links. A recommendation does not necessarily suggest an agreement with the contents of the post. For previous shortlists, please visit the site links page.

Today's guest for Reading Shortlist is Jonathan Blaustein.

Jonathan Blaustein is an artist, writer and educator based in Taos, New Mexico. He has exhibited his work widely in galleries and museums the US, and in several festivals in Europe as well.  His photographs reside in several important collections, including the Library of Congress, the State of New Mexico, the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

In 2010, his conceptual photo series, "The Value of a Dollar," went viral, and was seen by millions of people around the world.

Jonathan writes about photography for A Photo Editor and The New York Times Lens blog, and has taught at the University of New Mexico-Taos for many years.

Nataly Castaño helped organize this post.


Andrew Mangan is an Irish blogger writing about my favorite soccer/football team, Arsenal. He's done it every single day for over a decade. He's based in Dublin, and has an absurd and irreverent sense of humor that I can't get enough of.


Grantland is a must-read for me. Wesley Morris's film criticism is top notch, Rembert Browne did an amazing on-the-ground piece in Ferguson last summer and Bill Simmons, the editor-in-chief, is hilarious. His writing definitely inspired my first-person, off-the-cuff style on A Photo Editor.

Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks

I read this piece by Kazuo Ishiguro in The Guardian late last year, and it was excellent food for thought. It pushed me to take a big break from email, social media, and all photography for several weeks over the holidays. I hoped it would help me see the big picture again, and it worked.

Interview: Steven Soderbergh and Clive Owen on building the world of 'The Knick'

I watched a marathon of Steven Soderbergh's wicked, twisted new series "The Knick" over the weekend. What a gut-punch of a narrative. Everything about it is top notch: the story, historical detail, production design, camera work, acting and writing. This interview, with Soderbergh and Clive Owen, is really in-depth, and gives some good insight into the creative process of two very talented, successful artists.

Philip Seymour Hoffman for Esquire

Speaking of gut punches, check out this tintype portrait of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It was taken in 2014, a few months before his death. It is genuinely haunting, and gives me the willies in the best possible way. Poor guy.

A Graphic Photo Spurs Reflection

In the summer, the NYT Lens blog published a horrific photograph of two young Indian girls who'd been lynched, after they'd been raped. Then they asked a few people to write about whether it was actually appropriate to publish such information. They invited commenters to chime in, while offering to fold the best comments back into the body of the article. (FYI, I was actually a commenter, not a writer they'd originally asked.) I thought it was an innovative way to engage the "crowd," while also introspectively questioning whether it was even OK that they published the picture.

Carleton Watkins: Yosemite

I caught this link on Twitter last year, from the Metropolitan Museum's feed. These Carleton Watkins photos taken in Yosemite, in the 19th Century, are spectacular. Plus, I love the idea of something made during the Civil War being transmuted into a jpeg, and disseminated via Twitter, around the globe, in the 21st century.