Victor Burgin
[Artist and writer, b. 1941, Sheffield, England, lives in London.]

 Our conviction that we are free to choose what we make of a photograph hides the complicity to which we are recruited in the very act of looking. 
 The market is “behind” nothing; it is in everything. 
 It seems to be extensively believed by photographers that meanings are to be found in the world much in the way rabbits are found in downs, and all that is required is the talent to spot them and the skill to shoot them... But those moments of truth for which the photographic opportunist waits, finger on the button, are as great a mystification as the notion of autonomous creativity. 
 The wholeness, coherence, identity, which we attribute to the depicted scene [in a photograph] is a projection, a refusal of an impoverished reality in favour of an imagined plenitude. 
 Even the uncaptioned “art” photograph is invaded by language in the very moment it is looked at: in memory, in association, snatches of words and images continually intermingle and exchange one for the other. 
 A job the artist does which no-one else does is to dismantle existing communication codes and to combine some of their elements into structures which can be used to generate new pictures of the world. 
 ...the primary feature of photography, considered as an omnipresence in everyday social life, is its contribution to the production and dissemination of meaning. 
 The only pertinent political question in relation to an “identity” [or its photograph] is not “Is it really coherent?” but “What does it actually achieve?” 
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