David Hockney
[Artist, b. 1937, Bradford, England, lives in Bridlington, Yorkshire; London; and Los Angeles.]

 …all along I’ve had an ambivalent relationship to photography—but as to whether I thought it an art form, or a craft, or a technique, well, I’ve always been taken with Henry Geldzahler’s answer to that question when he said, “I thought it was a hobby.” 
 “The pencil of nature” is a mad idea: you need a hand with the pencil. It won’t do anything on its own. 
 You can’t look at most photos for more than, say, thirty seconds. It has nothing to do with the subject matter. I first noticed this with erotic photographs, trying to find them lively: you can’t. Life is precisely what they don’t have—or rather, time, lived time. All you can do with most ordinary photographs is stare at them—they stare back, blankly—and presently your concentration begins to fade. They stare you down. 
 I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong with photography. It’s a one-eyed man looking through a little hole. Now, how much reality can there be in that? 
 Computer manipulation means that it’s no longer possible to believe that a photograph represents a specific object in a specific place at a specific time—to believe that it’s objective and “true.” 
 Faced with the claim that photography had made figurative painting obsolete, the cubists performed an exquisite critique of photography; they showed that there were certain aspects of looking—basically the human reality of perception—that photography couldn’t convey, and that you still needed the painter’s hand and eye to convey them. 
 I can see it’s the end of chemical photography. We had this belief in photography, but that is about to disappear because of the computer. It can re-create something that looks like the photographs we’ve known. But it’s unreal. What’s that going to do to all photographs? Eh? It’s going to make people say: that’s not real—that’s just another invention… It’s like the ground being pulled from underneath us. 
 Cubism was precisely about saving the possibility of figuration, this ages-old need of human beings going all the way back to Lascaux, and saving that possibility at the moment of its greatest crisis, what with the onslaught of photography with all its false claims to be able to accomplish such figuration better and more objectively. It was about asserting all the things that photography couldn’t capture: time, multiple vantages, and the sense of lived and living experience. 
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