“I do. Going off on your own all over the place with a camera to photograph people. On your own, with nobody else, drifting by, drinking and smoking and hanging out with a camera round your neck and shooting off a couple of rolls or whatever the digital term is now. It doesn’t really matter if it’s street, war, documentary, commercial or fashion. That’s what it’s all about really. Getting into your own little world.”—Colin Pantall’s blog: Random Conversations #6: Photographers are Conservative
The trout streams where I flyfish are cold and clear and rich in the minerals that promote the growth of stream life. As I wade a stream I think wordlessly of where to cast the fly. Sometimes a difference of inches is the difference between catching a fish and not. When the fly I’ve cast is on the water my attention is riveted to it. I’ve found through experience that whenever—or so it seems—my attention wanders or I look away then surely a fish will rise to the fly and I will be too late setting the hook. I watch the fly calmly and attentively so that when the fish strikes—I strike. Then the line tightens, the playing of the fish begins, and time stands still. Fishing, like photography, is an art that calls forth intelligence, concentration, and delicacy.
Stephen Shore, 1982. Explaining his process of photography by way of analogy
“It’s probably true that even the most powerful documentary photographs are more likely to induce gratifying feelings of moral superiority in their beholders than changes in the situations of their subjects. And it’s probably also true that photography has played some role in the more general collapse of politics into ethics. But that’s another way of getting at the fact that photography has more political meaning as art than as documentary, more political significance when it seeks to be beautiful than when it seeks to be relevant.”—i heart photograph: Interview with Walter Benn Michaels
“I like the idea of artists sharing a technique that leads to such dangerously similar results, also considering the recurrent thoughts about plagiarism in photography. Should somebody give up because there has been already another one who darkened a room and let the light come in through a tiny hole to project the outside world on the walls inside? Should deadpan portraiture be limited to a small number of photograhers? And what about tall buildings in fast-rising Asian cities?”—Hippolyte Bayard: Inside a camera
I have a book at home on posing people for portraits, I’ll have to paste in a quote from it here. The basic gist is that if you want to make a living doing portraiture, you have to make images that appeal to the people who make most of the spending decisions regarding portraiture: moms.
Which means that as the subject you gotta wash behind your ears and wear matching socks and none of that ambiguous, brooding Contract Killer malaise - it’s gotta be smiley and happy. And the photographer will pose every part of your body and twist you into a little bonsai tree of sparkling positivity.
“Well if they’re doing street photography I advise them to go to a beach and photograph pretty models. There’s only personal success in street photography. If you still insist on doing this purely from love then you can seek out other street photographers either by attending an opening or use Google to figure out the players.”—Two Way Lens: Orville Robertson
“We are fifteen years into the commercialization of the Internet. We have all made tremendous adjustments to these new forms of technology and social media. I don’t know about you but I do not need a new “study” to tell me my life has been changed by email, texting, blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon.com, my iPad, my Blackberry, and on and on and on. It’s NOT the Technology , Stupid! I hear James Carville shouting. It’s about all of the ways life is changing and how technology facilitates, shapes, redistributes, the everyday facts and habits of life. And it is about us figuring out the best ways to live given these changes.”
“And don’t you think that’s the problem with photography and art and all the rest of it, that people are becoming like brands, going to galleries and magazines and NGOs that are like brands run by people with money and power who completely believe in being a brand. But don’t you think that only somebody who is a bit worthless could think of himself as brand, as a commercial entity?”—Colin Pantall’s blog: Random Conversations #4 ; It’s like Being a Brand
“Scavengers is a funny way to put it, but it’s accurate: street photographers sift through the detritus that we all negotiate through every day and try to find valuable things. I don’t do much of the jumping up; it’s more about weaving, going with or against the flow, depending on which seems most interesting. Riding the waves of humanity. (Or sometimes riding actual waves.) I think you develop a body of work just by shooting, then looking at what you’ve shot and thinking “what is my subconscious telling me by directing my eye toward these things? Is it part of a larger idea?” I’ve never been great at sitting inside and dreaming up projects; I usually realize I’m shooting a project only after I’ve unknowingly started it.”—Saturday Night Conversations : Kramer O’Neill « Constellation Cafe
“There are hordes of these people like him out there, you photo people, and if I gave every one even a single minute of my time I would be stuck in a vortex of characterless girls and liminal places or whatever the current thing is. But I don’t want to know every last detail of his unsustainable career. It’s such bullshit; email bulletins, newsletters, facebook updates, blog postings asking me to like his page. How does he put this stuff out, how can he have any dignity or pride in what he does when he comes up with this. I make art and I don’t do this stuff, I don’t tell everyone how great I am, how fabulously I’m doing, how the sun shines out of my arse. I don’t do it because 1. It isn’t true and 2. I don’t want to do it.”—Colin Pantall’s blog: Random Conversations #3: Self Promotion
“The only way documentary photography makes sense to me is if I document something that I am living through, something I’m experiencing first hand, or something that I really believe in. This is why I’ve turned most my attention to street photography. I’m allowed to be anonymous or confrontational, honest or slanted, spontaneous or deliberate. I’m allowed to stay inside of my own head and not be discounted for it.”—Peter Earl McCollough: Seven Ways to Sunday » Blog Archive » 5/20/11 SOMA Fire
“The tasks that photography education is committed to, those of teaching how to make photographs and how to interpret them, never seemed more redundant and obsolete than in the present moment. The resignation of photography education in the face of digital culture crippled it and proved its irrelevance to everyone beside itself. Photography education knows of no method with which to approach New Media image culture; instead, it attempts in vain to prolong its survival by clinging to the historical moment of photography, not realizing that this moment has passed and that it has nothing to offer to the present besides obsolete judgments and inadequate interpretations.”—A Photo Student › Towards Photographic Education – Daniel Rubinstein