About Nancy Brokaw
Nancy Brokaw lives and works in Philadelphia, where she teaches at the University of the Arts and writes about photography and art. Trained as a critic and writer (BA, Brown University) and photographer (MFA, University of Delaware), I am interested in the creation of meaning in works of art. Along those lines, I ask many of the usual academic/critical questions: What are the sources for a given image (historical, art historical, literary, pop cultural) and how do they influence how we read it? What was the context in which the image was made? How do formal decisions contribute to that meaning?
That said, my first concern is the image itself. Art criticism seems to degenerate either into thumbs-up, thumbs-down rankings or into hyper-academic, over-theorized obscurity. I try to write seriously, clearly, accessibly, and unpretentiously. So I like to begin with – and never forget – my first reactions. How do I respond to this image? What is its emotional impact? How does my relationship to the image evolve as I study it, put it in context, and ask all those left-brain questions?