Clarence John Laughlin
[Photographer, b. 1905, Lake Charles, Louisiana, d. 1985, New Orleans, Louisiana.]

 As a whole, I am interested in the symbolic, rather than the literal use of the camera. 
 Let us see as steadily and completely as possible the realities of our age: the wasted lives, the scattered and misused resources (human and material), the steel magic of the misdirected machinery, the mad clockwork tragedy of it all. 
 The mystery of light [and] the enigma of time form the twin pivots around which all my work revolves. In addition... my work attempts to create a mythology for our contemporary world. 
 Everything that I see must become personal; otherwise, it is dead and mechanical. Our only chance to escape the blight of mechanization, of acting and thinking alike, of the huge machine which society is becoming, is to restore life to all things through the saving and beneficent power of the human imagination. 
 ... dissatisfaction with one’s self and dissatisfaction with the world—is necessary—it is one of the prime things that keeps the artist going on—that drives him—happiness, as such, must come in between times, as best it can. 
 ... I frequently attempt to show in my work, in various ways, the unreality of the “real” and the reality of the “unreal.” This may result, at times, in some disturbing effects. But art should be disturbing; it should make us both think and feel; it should infect the subconscious as well as the conscious mind; it should never allow complacency nor condone the status quo. 
 There is nothing, under present conditions, that can be more easily and exactly reproduced than a technically good black-and-white photograph, and it is utter rot to burden those interested in them with irrelevant biographical trivia and pet longwinded theory. 
 I quite agree with you that the photographer who produces a photograph which is merely technically good, owes more to the discoveries of the laboratory technicians than to himself. However, the imagination transcends all technical perfection, and sometimes even converts a technical disadvantage to a further advantage. 
quotes 1-8 of 16
page 1 of 2 next page last page
display quotes