John Divola
[Photographer, b. 1949, Los Angeles, lives in Los Angeles.]

 I don’t look for things to see how they function as metaphors.... You can’t photograph the sublime. You can only traffic in the specific and its relationship to the symbolic. 
 To photograph is often compared to an act of redemption—to select from an infinite number of choices that which is to be remembered. 
 The photograph as an object has a relationship to that which it represents something like the relationship the snake skin has to the snake that sheds it. 
 I want things to be dumb and obvious and flat-footed, but to address the most ambitious possible iconography. 
 Why differentiate between sculpture, painting, and performance when it’s all going to end up as a photograph anyway? 
 It’s hard to see things. The way we look at the world is so edited; we’re just editing machines, essentially. It’s a weird compromise between what you expect to see and want to see and what’s there. 
 The beauty of photography is that is pulls you not only literally out into the world, but pulls your consciousness into a mode of observation that is really rewarding, almost addicting. 
 In all my work there’s this notion of the melancholic. You can make a photograph about the sublime, but you can’t make the sublime itself. 
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