Richard Misrach
[Photographer, b. 1949, Los Angeles, lives in San Francisco.]

 In spite of recent trends towards fabricating photographic narratives, I find, more than ever, traditional photographic capture—the “discovery” of found narratives—deeply compelling. 
 I am not unaware that I have the mindset, as contradictory as it may sound, to discover in the world what I am in fact looking for. Perhaps the best pictures are a seamless hybrid of discovery and construction. 
 The very act of representation has been so thoroughly challenged in recent years by postmodern theories that it is impossible not to see the flaws everywhere, in any practice of photography. Traditional genres in particular—journalism, documentary studies, and fine-art photography—have become shells, or forms emptied of meaning. 
 Every photograph is a measure of time. Perhaps each can even be considered a metaphysical time-stamp of sorts. 
 To me, the work I do is a means of interpreting unsettling truths, of bearing witness, and of sounding an alarm. The beauty of formal representation both carries an affirmation of life and subversively brings us face to face with news from our besieged world. 
 I’m not interested in victim photography. Photographing people suffering and putting it on a museum wall is too weird. 
 I love the fact that a photograph is always open to interpretation—there is no fixed meaning. 
 I think this is the most exciting time in the history of photography. Technology is expanding what photographers can do, like the microscope and the telescope expanded what scientists could do. 
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