Chuck Close
[Artist, b. 1940, Monroe, Washington, lives in New York.]

 The camera is objective. When it records a face it can’t make any hierarchical decisions about a nose being more important than a cheek. The camera is not aware of what it is looking at. It just gets it all down. 
 My advice is to try and slow it down. Try and not go with the prevailing wisdom, because whatever the prevailing wisdom is, it’s only the prevailing wisdom because everybody is agreeing with it. 
 I’ve watched people at the gallery looking at the nudes, and I finds it interesting that they don’t spend the most time in front of the beautiful bodies… even [young gallery-goers] seem to be more involved with the bodies that show signs of wear and tear, the one that show evidence of having been lived in. 
 In order to come up with a mark-making technique which would make painting information stack up with photographic information, I tried to purge my work of as much of the baggage of traditional portrait painting as I could. 
 When I went to pick [artist Joe Zucker] up to photograph him, I didn’t recognize him. He has curly, blonde, bushy hair—but he had bought a jar of Vaseline, greased his hair down, borrowed someone’s white shirt and tie, someone else’s glasses, and he looked like a used car salesman. He understood that all he had to do was provide me with the evidence that someone like that existed for a 100th of a second. It didn’t necessarily have to be him. 
 ... I never said the camera was truth. It is, however, a more accurate and more objective way of seeing. 
 …you may have know before how a camera worked, but [with the room-sized Polaroid ‘monster camera’] you were actually inside the damn thing. It was like that Raquel Welch movie where they shrank people to go inside the human body. 
 The minute I started working with Polaroid I realized that as soon as I got a print that I thought I wanted to work from, there was no reason to make more versions. I began to take photographs that I had really no intention of making a painting from. So I reluctantly began to accept the fact that if I’m making photographs with no life other than that of a photograph, then golly, I must be a photographer. So I sort of backed into it. Thinking about myself as a photographer—it’s still something I’m not totally comfortable with. 
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