Only Human: Judy Dater

I wanted to like this book, but couldn’t. I wish I could recommend it, but I can’t.

what recommends a book to you? a reference from someone you trust; a requirement. I took the recommendation without considering the source – a stopover of the camera shoppers ->The Online Photographer.

Who tells you is your first clue to the usefulness.
Their standard baseline language is a good groundline for what they will recommend. How well it will match your need. If their thought is first about equipment, then their range of thought may not be mature.

Words Mean

some matter more than others. and at other times they matter little. Knowing that they are selling is one thing. Both are elemental to making your online life safer, abler.

An artlife cannot be filled with many distractions and dead ends. 

Which is why I am passing on my caution about this book.

Expectation Experience


Book Blurb

Only Human is a taught and poetic compilation of images that emphatically reveals the breadth of Judy Dater’s achievement as a photographer over five decades.  We see that her photographs are concerned with acknowledgement, with personal identity and belonging, with loneliness and solidarity. The best of them possess a beauty, intelligence, and complexity that elevates them above the merely interesting to the often profound


The Show

The work is also a show at the DeYoung.  April 7, 2018September 16, 2018

This exhibition will provide a survey of Dater’s work, celebrating her achievement as a pioneering figure in 1970s feminist art and her subsequent creative evolution.

 The DeYoung, when photography was young, sponsored a changing view of photographyNow, what could have been wide eyed is just sleepy. The Dater work hasn’t grown, although it has aged. That can be said about many of the early voices from that era, that place.

Judy is a three legged photographer – her work is static. She photographed like Jack Welpott, her MFA teacher and husband of several years. Those around you can take you only so far.

Better Than The Book

Judy provides better words and pictures on her web site. (Jan 2018)

I rely on the chance encounter; my morning strolls, a party or exhibition openings are often my sources for finding subjects. – Judy Dater

Judy Dater was better presented in Lustrum Press Darkroom 2 this site  which is where the (above) photograph of her working the camera appeared.

Utata provides the best offering about Judy Dater. This is a taste:

Because of her work in the 1970s…and in particular because of that one photograph of Imogen and Twinka…Dater has secured herself a place in photographic history. In a way, her story is a cautionary tale. Sometimes talent fails. Nobody knows why; it just fails. [ here ] jan -18

As Aside

When you look at the picture of Judy featured on this page, (from the Lustrum book), what do you notice? The camera, the background?

You don’t see her face, but do see her nipples. That was more than the time, to be braless, but it was the role. Breasts among the books, with a camera to explain it all.

Photography has grown beyond that, at least for most of us