[Writer, critic, and historian, b. 1941, Washington, D.C., lives in New York.]
Photographic cropping is always experienced as a rupture in the continuous fabric of reality.
By exposing the multiplicity, the facticity, the repetition and stereotype at the heart of every aesthetic gesture, photography deconstructs the possibility of differentiating between the original and the copy. [Photography calls] into question the whole concept of the uniqueness of the art object, the originality of the author, the coherence of the oeuvre within which it was made, and the individuality of so-called self-expression.
... photography is an imprint or transfer off the real; it is a photochemically processed trace causally connected to the thing in the world to which it refers in a manner parallel to fingerprints or footprints or the rings of water that cold glasses leave on tables. The photograph is thus generically distinct from painting or sculpture or drawing. On the family tree of images it is closer to palm prints, death masks, the Shroud of Turin, or the tracks of gulls on beaches.
Everything that one photographs is in fact “flattened to fit” paper, and thus under, within, permeating, every paper support, there is a body.
Photography’s vaunted capture of a moment in time is the seizure and freezing of presence. It is the image of simultaneity, of the way that everything within a given space at a given moment is present to everything else; it is a declaration of the seamless integrity of the real.
Every photograph is the result of a physical imprint transferred by light reflections onto a sensitive surface. The photograph is thus a type of icon, or visual likeness, which bears an indexical relationship to its object.
Contrivance is what ensures that a photograph will seem surrealist.
Here is a paradox. It would seem that there cannot be surrealism and photography, but only photography or surrealism.