Sophie Calle
[Artist, b. 1953, Paris, lives in Paris and New York.]

 In April 1981, at my request, my mother went to a detective agency. She hired them to follow me, to report my daily activities, and to provide photographic evidence of my existence. 
 I met a photographer who agreed to give me a few lessons; in exchange, I had to pose naked for him. 
 I traveled for seven years, and when I came back home I was completely lost. I didn’t know what to do with my life, so I decided to let people decide for me. For month I followed strangers on the street. For the pleasure of following, not because the party interested me. I photographed them without their knowledge, took note of their movements, and finally lost sight of them. At the end of January 1980, I chose a man and followed him to Venice. That’s how I started. That’s all. 
 I didn’t know what to do with these images. [Bank photos of people withdrawing money from an automatic cash dispenser.] I had to come up with an idea... I kept on thinking that those images were not sufficient unto themselves. The text was missing. This text that won’t let go of me. My trademark: images and texts. By showing found photos, without any input from me, I wasn’t clinging to my own style. That seemed too easy. I was at a dead end. The words were missing. I suggested to Jean Baudrillard that he write captions for these photographs. He filled four pages... But what was my role? In my hands I had images produced by a machine and a text written by someone else.