Hand-crafted photographic prints are dead as a fine art. I think the real fine art of photography is in picture-making. The making of an impression of a negative onto photographic paper is not as important as the actual picture value of the image, which could be reproduced in a magazine, a newspaper, or a ten cent xerox.
I wanted to make a book of some kind. And at the same time, I—my whole attitude about everything came out in this one phrase that I made up for myself, which was “twenty-six gasoline stations.” I worked on that in my mind for a long time and I knew that title before the book had even come about. And then, paradoxically, the idea of the photographs of the gasoline stations came around, so it’s an idea first—and then I kind of worked it down.
Originally, I thought that the pictures were a means to an end, a vehicle to make a book. And than along the way came some gear shifting. Over the years, I began to appreciate print quality and see my photographs as not necessarily reproductions for a book but having their own life as gelatin silver prints.