A man can watch half an hour of television and think that he's seen a civil war in Africa, the disappearing rain forests in the Amazon and genocide in Bosnia. In truth, he hasn't seen a thing. In truth, he was seated in his armchair and saw images that were presented, accelerated, slowed down and mediated by someone else. You can't learn anything passively. (...) What about still images? Can't they be just as manipulative? No, because they work at a subjective rhythm. You react to a photograph according to your own tempo. A photograph permits a first viewing, and then an individual reflection. It solicits participation, and encourages individuality in interpretation. Television is an autarchy, a dictatorship.
I've come to realize that I'm a image maker, not an object maker. Images come to me as photographs because I don't have any other way of express them. I have to translate everything into still or moving pictures. I've learned that reality is not important to me. In the end it is the representation of reality that I'm striving to capture.
Knowing a great deal about what is in the world (art, catastrophe, the beauties of nature) through photographic images, people are frequently disappointed, surprised, unmoved when the see the real thing. For photographic images tend to subtract feeling from something we experience at first hand and the feelings they do arouse are, largely, not those we have in real life. Often something disturbs us more in photographed form than it does when we actually experience it.
The image of how power shows itself to the public is important... CNN was an inspiration to do the project in color because power confirms itself through television... I thought it would be interesting to copy the same language (color, TV format). The large color pictures are framed in heavy wooden frames with golden plates and hung slightly higher than normal. So viewers get a sore neck watching these events, this is also the case when looking at paintings of saints in cathedrals.
Every part of the photographic image carries some information that contributes to its total statement; the viewer’s responsibility is to see, in the most literal way, everything that is there and respond to it. To put it another way, the statement the image makes – not just what it show you, but the mood, moral evaluation and casual connections it suggest – is built up from those details. A proper ‘reading’ of a photograph sees and responds to them consciously.