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About A. D. Coleman

(See also: A profile of A. D. Coleman by Susan E. Davis from Between the Lines,
the newsletter of the New York Local of the National Writers Union.)

A founding member of the National Writers Union, for which he teaches seminars on copyright law, contract negotiation, and subsidiary-rights licensing, A. D. Coleman has published more than 2000 essays in the United States and elsewhere, as well as five volumes of collected essays, several monographs, and a book for children. His body of work includes art and photography criticism and history, cultural analysis, discussion of digital technologies, creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, as well as articles on a wide variety of other subjects.

Recently named one of "the 100 most important people in photography in 1998" by American Photo magazine, media commentator and educator A. D. Coleman lectures, teaches and publishes widely both here and abroad. Joel Eisinger, in Trace & Transformation: American Criticism of Photography in the Modernist Period, proposed that "Coleman . . . might be considered either as a transitional figure between modernism and postmodernism or as the first postmodernist critic." Library Journal called him "a rigorous critic with a deep, insightful knowledge of the method, theory and history of photography."

Since 1967, Coleman's "controversial, pungent, and influential" essays have provoked and delighted an increasingly international readership. With more than 170 columns in the Village Voice; 120 articles in the New York Times; almost 300 pieces in the New York Observer; features in such diverse publications as ARTnews, Art in America, Collections, Dance Pages, France, and New York; introductions to several dozen books; and appearances on NPR, PBS, CBS's "Night Watch," and the BBC, he has demonstrated an ability to engage the attention of the general public. His widely read Internet newsletter, C: The Speed of Light, appears bi-monthly on the World Wide Web in The Nearby Café, a multi-subject electronic magazine of which he is Executive Director.

At the same time, the regular presentation of Coleman's articles in specialized journals -- Artforum, Impact of Science on Society, and The Journal of Mass Media Ethics among them -- attests to the scholarly community's regard for his work. A member of PEN, The Authors Guild, the National Writers Union and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Coleman served for years as Executive Vice-President of AICA USA, the international association of critics of art. He received the first Art Critic's Fellowship ever awarded in photography by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1976, a Logan Grant in Support of New Writing on Photography in 1990, and a major Hasselblad Foundation Grant in 1991. He was a J. Paul Getty Museum Guest Scholar in 1993 and a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Sweden in 1994. In the winter of 1996-97 Coleman was honored as the Ansel and Virginia Adams Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, which in 2000 published a 27-year bibliography of his writings on photography.

Coleman's published books include The Grotesque in Photography, Light Readings: A Photography Critic's Writings, Critical Focus: Photography in the International Image Community, Tarnished Silver: After the Photo Boom, Depth of Field: Essays on Photography, Mass Media and Lens Culture, and Looking at Photographs: Animals, a work for children. Critical Focus received the International Center of Photography's Infinity Award for Writing on Photography in 1995; both that volume and Tarnished Silver were singled out for Honorable Mention in the 1996 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards.

From 1988 through 1997, Coleman served as the photography critic for the weekly New York Observer; his syndicated columns appear regularly in Photo Metro, Photography in New York, European Photography (Germany), La Fotografia (Spain), and Juliet Art Magazine (Italy). In addition to photography, art, mass media, and new communication technologies, Coleman's subjects have included a wide range -- from music, books, theater, and education to politics and cooking. Under his full name, Allan Douglass Coleman, he publishes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. His work, which has been translated into nineteen languages and published in 26 countries, is represented by Image/World Syndication Services, POB 040078, Staten Island, NY 10304-0002 USA;T/F (718) 447-3091,

Copyright © 2001 by A. D. Coleman. All rights reserved. For reprint permissions contact Image/World Syndication Services, POB 040078, Staten Island, NY 10304-0002 USA;T/F (718) 447-3091,