This is my third – and last – quote calendar. I’ve set aside my practice in the past two years’ editions of stating a profession or vocation with the name of each person quoted. Labels can be such damnable things!
January: Bill Brandt (1904 – 1983) “It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. [They] must have and keep in [themselves] something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country.” [from “Camera in London”, Focal Press (London), p. 14]
February: Walker Evans (1903 – 1975) “Concern yourself not with the question whether the medium, photography, is art. The question is dated and absurd to begin with. You are art or not; whatever you produce is or isn’t. And don’t think about that either; just do, act.” [from “Random Notes and Suggestions for Photographers”, c. 1966]
March: Mary Gaitskill (b. 1954) “I don’t especially feel pressured as a writer by the presence of images. I guess this is because I’m a very visual person and tend to express ideas and feelings with images, sometimes kooky images. The thing I dislike about a lot of images, say, online or otherwise present in culture, is that they tend to be flat and unimaginative, yet they have a strong visceral impact — and because they’re so omnipresent people expect to be ‘talked to’ in that language and it seems like they aren’t as open to a more individual vision. It even seems scary and weird to them maybe. But maybe that’s always been true. I don’t know.” [from Aperture 217, Winter 2014, p.42]
April: Sally Mann (b. 1951) “Because I am still a girl when it comes to developing film. There is nothing better than the thrill of holding a great negative, wet with fixer, up to the light. And, here’s the important thing: it doesn’t even have to be a great negative. You get the same thrill with any negative; with art, as someone once said, most of what you have to do is show up. The hardest part is setting the camera on the tripod, or making the decision to bring the camera out of the car, or just raising the camera to your face, believing, by those actions, that whatever you find before you, whatever you find there, is going to be good.” [from “Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs”]
May: Adam Philips (b. 1954) “It could be one of art’s jobs to make us feel that more life is worth having… A sane art would be one that always offers us the promise of more life.” [from a March 2005 ITV “Southbank” feature on artists and madness – https://bit.ly/37pp76w, 11:00, 12:29]
June: Jerry Uelsmann (b. 1934) “My creative process begins when I get out with the camera and interact with the world. A camera is truly a license to explore. There are no uninteresting things. There are just uninterested people. For me to walk around the block where I live could take five minutes. But when I have a camera, it could take five hours. You just engage in the world differently. If you can get to a point where you respond emotionally, not intellectually, with your camera there’s a whole world to encounter. There’s a lot of source material once you have the freedom of not having to complete an image at the camera.” [from “Shutterbug” interview, September 2007]
July: Sydney Smith (1771 – 1845) “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.” [from Lecture XIX : On the Conduct of the Understanding, Part II]
August: Paul Tillich (1886 – 1965) “The riddle of the present is the deepest of all the riddles of time.” [from “The Eternal Now”, Charles Scribner & Son, 1963, p. 110]
September: Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965) “You put your camera around your neck in the morning, along with putting on your shoes, and there it is, an appendage of the body that shares your life with you. The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” [from “Dorothea Lange: A Photographer’s Life, 1978, p. vii]
October: Arthur Danto (1924 – 2013) “The still [photograph] must tease with the promise of a story the viewer of it itches to be told.” [from “Cindy Sherman: Untitled Film Stills”, Rizzoli, 1990]
November: Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 1879) “What is focus and who has the right to say what focus is the legitimate focus…” [from letter to Sir John Herschel, December 1864].
December: Rineke Dijkstra (b. 1959) “As a photographer you enlarge or emphasize a certain moment, making it another reality. For instance the portraits I made of women after giving birth: the reality of this experience is about the whole atmosphere, which is very emotional. In the photograph, you can scrutinize all the details, which makes it a bit harsh: you can see things you normally would not pay so much attention to.” [as quoted in Sarah Douglas, “Rineke Dijkstra: the gap between intention and effect”, Flash Art, October 2003]