Lewis Baltz
[Photographer, b. 1945, Newport Beach, California, d. 2014, Paris.]

 I think being a photographer is a little like being a whore: if you’re really really good at it, nobody will call you that. 
 It might be more useful, if not necessarily more true, to think of photography as a narrow, deep area between the novel and film. 
 I was living in Monterey, a place where the classic photographers—the Westons, Wynn Bullock and Ansel Adams—came for a privileged view of nature. But my daily life very rarely took me to Point Lobos or Yosemite; it took me to shopping centers, and gas stations and all the other unhealthy growth that flourished beside the highway. It was a landscape that no one else had much interest in looking at. Other than me. 
 I never had any profound loyalty to the idea of photography as a medium but simply as the most efficient way of making or recording an image. 
 I wanted [my photography] to appear as though the camera was seeing by itself. 
 If you read what, say, Weston was writing in the 1920s he talked about an industrial medium, reflective surfaces, contemporary subject matter—it’s a straighter line to [Ed] Ruscha’s 26 Gas Stations than it would ever be to Ansel Adam’s pictures of Yosemite and their kitschy calendar sensibility. 
 I believed it was necessary to investigate photography, dismantle it, jettison all the non-essential components, and begin again with a stripped down but more powerful idea of what is, or could be “photographic.” 
 Photographs no longer provoke a meditation upon external phenomena, but on the conditions of their own existence. 
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