Ruth Bernhard
[Photographer, b. 1905, Berlin, d. 2006, San Francisco.]

 I make only one negative when photographing a nude or still life. The moment of exposure is the culmination of rejecting all other possibilities. It often takes me many hours to make a photograph. 
 My photographic images search for dimensions that words cannot touch—the result of intense responses to personal experiences. I do not wish to “record,” but rather to touch upon the elusive meanings which I perceive and try to comprehend in this limitless universe. 
 After all these years, it is still the quality, the mood, the radiance of light which motivates me to work passionately, almost like an obsession. 
 Every day I am aware of the flow and constant change; perhaps I am at the edge of discovering what more our bodies might be able to teach about the spirit of life. At least, I am always exploring and trying to understand our relationship to the whole universe. 
 Light is my inspiration, my paint and brush. It is as vital as the model herself. Profoundly significant, it caresses the essential superlative curves and lines. Light I acknowledge as the energy upon which all life on this planet depends. 
 [The nude] represents to me the same universal innocence, timelessness, and purity as do all seed pods (suggesting the mother as well as the child, the parental as well as the descendants,) conceived according to nature’s longing. The human body implies its reproductive function, its vitality and its continuity. 
 As [with] the Haiku poems of Japanese literature, expressive photographs lead viewers into amazing realms of visual poetic imagery. 
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