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

 With a painting, you’re taking basic building blocks and making something that’s more complex than what you started with. It is a synthetic process. A photograph does the opposite: It takes the world, and puts an order on it, simplifies it. 
 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) 
 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. 
 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. 
 Although we know that the buildings, sidewalks, and sky continue beyond the edges of this urban landscape, the world of the photograph is contained within the frame. It’s not a fragment of a larger world. 
 Until I was twenty-three I lived mostly in a few square miles in Manhattan. In 1972 I set out with a friend for Amarillo, Texas. I didn’t drive, so my first view of America was framed by the passenger’s window. 
 The context in which a photograph is seen affects the meaning the viewer draws from it. 
 I think most people have experienced walking down the street and for a few minutes, everything looks brighter or more vivid, or space and time feels more tangible; things seem more real. I imagine that it’s quite possible that the quality of mind can imprint itself on a picture… 
quotes 9-16 of 18
first page previous page page 2 of 3 next page last page
display quotes