I have been taking photographs for 30 years now and it has steadily become less important to me that the photographs are about something in the most obvious way. I am interested in more elusive and nebulous subject matter. The photography I most respect pulls something out of the ether of nothingness… you can’t sum up the results in a single line.
Normally, photography offers these frozen shards of time where the world is ossified into a singular moment. I’ve struggled to get away from that brittle, crystalline notion by inviting time into the work, making it a quality that you feel and experience.
..when you have a worthwhile idea, you should be prepared to gamble on it, test it out and see what the world gives back.
Okay, so how do I make sense of that never ending flow, the fog that covers life here and now? How do I see through that, how do I cross that boundary? Do I walk down the street and make pictures of strangers, do I make a drama-tableaux with my friends, do I only photograph my beloved, my family, myself? Or maybe I should just photograph the land, the rocks and trees—they don't move or complain or push back. The old houses? The new houses? Do I go to a war zone on the other side of the world, or just to the corner store, or not leave my room at all? Yes and yes and yes.
The “decisive moment” is bullshit. There are ten pictures before and ten pictures after every one of them: [Henri Cartier-Bresson] actually took thirty pictures of people leaping over that puddle.
...a partial, but nonetheless astonishing description of the creative act at the heart of serious photography: nothing less than the measuring and folding of the cloth of time itself.
The problem is that the term “documentary” is used to describe nearly every photographer who works from life-as-it-is. If someone makes food with vegetables from their garden, are they doing documentary cooking?
...my photography doesn’t always fit into neat, coherent projects, so maybe I need to roll freeform around this world, unfettered, able to photograph whatever and whenever: the sky, my feet, the coffee in my cup, the flowers I just noticed, my friends and lovers, and, because it’s all my life, surely it will make sense? Perhaps.
Why is everyone addicted to prepackaged spectacular moments, as if that’s all that’s worth photographing?
All photographers hope to have some idea of what they’re hoping to find when they go out to shoot, but you have to be open to what the world throws at you, and engage with how it challenges and transforms your original idea.
There remains a sizeable part of the art world that simply does not get photography. They get artists who use photography to illustrate their ideas, installations, performances and concepts, who deploy the medium as one of a range of artistic strategies to complete their work. But photography for and of itself—photographs taken from the world as it is—are misunderstood as a collection of random observations and lucky moments, or muddled up with photojournalism, or tarred with a semi-derogatory documentary tag.
[The] unique qualities of [photography are] its struggle to deal with time and life. Sometimes I think those are our materials. Not film, not paper, not prints: time and life.
[Photography is] so easy it’s ridiculous. It’s so easy that I can’t even begin—I just don’t know where to start. After all, it’s just looking at things. We all do that. It’s simply a way of recording what you see—point the camera at it, and press a button. How hard is that?
To photographers, street photography is a Himalayan range that the foolhardy pit themselves against. Or maybe it’s a shibboleth, a mystical visual code that only the indoctrinated members of our cult speak and revere.
Sometimes, when I go out with a camera, I don’t have a plan or even know what it is I am looking for. But I do go out every time and question how we make photographs of the world. It’s the same question that photographers have always asked: how is this world? And, what are the new ways to find that out?”