Stephen Shore
[Photographer, b. 1947, New York, lives in New York.]

 Even in ordinary reproduction [photography] verges on facsimile. 
 I went on to Flickr and it was just thousands of pieces of shit, and I just couldn’t believe it. And it’s just all conventional, it’s all cliches, it’s just one visual convention after another. 
 It’s the bane of my existence that I see photography not as a way of recording personal experience particularly, but as this process of exploring the world and the medium. I have to be reminded, “It’s your son’s birthday party. Bring a camera.” And then, when I’m there, “Take a picture,” because it doesn’t occur to me to use it as this memorializing thing. 
 I wanted to make pictures that felt natural, that felt like seeing, that didn’t feel like taking something in the world and making a piece of art out of it. 
 I meet young artists and it becomes clear that with some the main motivation is getting a show in Chelsea. It strikes me that this is very different to the way it was for me, which was that I wanted to understand photography and the world and myself. 
 I was photographing every meal I ate, every person I met, every waiter or waitress who served me, every bed I slept in, every toilet I used. (On his 1972 American road trip) 
 There’s something arbitrary about taking a picture. So I can stand at the edge of a highway and take one step forward and it can be a natural landscape untouched by man and I can take one step back and include a guardrail and change the meaning of the picture radically... I can take a picture of a person at one moment and make them look contemplative and photograph them two seconds later and make them look frivolous. 
 Photographers have to impose order, bring structure to what they photograph. It is inevitable. A photograph without structure is like a sentence without grammar—it is incomprehensible, even inconceivable. 
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