John Loengard
[Photographer, editor, and critic, b. 1934, New York, lives in New York.]

 There really is no moment. The picture is the moment. 
 Working alone on stories, I began to feel the anonymity of motels on interstate highways reached by jet planes and rental cars. It was hard to have a good time, and the only way I could make the loneliness excusable was by taking pictures I thought were very good, even valuable. 
 Usually I think if there is something imperfect in a photograph it makes the picture more real. Photographs that are slick, smooth, and perfect seem less honest to me. 
 A Ming vase can be well-designed and well-made and is beautiful for that reason alone. I don’t think this can be true for photography. Unless there is something a little incomplete and a little strange, it will simply look like a copy of something pretty. We won’t take an interest in it. 
 I wanted to make... flat pictures that had depth; to find a picture by chance, yet have some control over it. 
 Perishability in a photograph is important in a picture. If a photograph looks perishable we say, “Gee, I’m glad I have that moment.” 
 In my head I think, “There is a beautiful picture here and by God, short of murder, I’m going to get it. So shut up and hold still!” But what I say is: “You look wonderful. It’ll just take a minute. It’s marvelous. We’re doing something very special.” 
 Often the tension that exists between the pictorial content of a photograph and its record of reality is the picture’s true beauty. 
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