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. 
 ... 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. 
 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. 
 ... 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. 
 One of my basic feelings is that the mind, and the heart alike, of the photographer must be dedicated to the glory, the magic, and the mystery of light. The mystery of time, the magic of light, the enigma of reality—and their interrelationships—are my constant themes and preoccupations. 
 The physical object, to me, is merely a steppingstone to an inner world where the object, with the help of subconscious drives and focused perceptions, becomes transmuted into a symbol whose life is beyond the life of the objects we know and whose meaning is a truly human meaning. By dealing with the object in this way, the creative photographer sets free the human contents of objects; and imparts humanity to the inhuman world around him. 
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