Michael Light
[Photographer, b. 1963, Florida, lives in San Francisco.]

 Even in this age of digital manipulation, photographs continue to hold a huge degree of power and meaning. They’re beautiful and sad and complicated because every stoppage of time refers to the motion of time. 
 I take pleasure in working with the “non-art” photographs that reside in public archives, essentially authorless and owned by the world itself, because I find the world of “fine art photography” to be pretty silly and pretentious. 
 ... anybody who has spent time with cameras and photographs knows that images, like gravestone rubbings, are no more than impressions of the truth. 
 I struggle against photography. I struggle against the fact that it is silent, that it is just a piece of paper on the wall, often presented in a tedious white matt frame. 
 We have not only the right, but a specific duty, to honestly and unflinchingly look at all aspects of our world, both the one we create as humans and the one we are lucky enough to inhabit as a species. 
 I don’t particularly care about photographic authorship. Whether an astronaut who doesn’t even have a viewfinder makes an image, a robotic camera, a military photographer, or Mike Light really doesn’t matter. What matters is the context of the final photograph and the meaning it generates within that context. 
 While I am very involved in making my own negatives, I’ve always been just as interested in trying to make some sense out of the trillions of images that already exist. There is no shortage of information out there. What we need are data miners who possess good intellectual prisms and aesthetic senses to create knowledge. The relationship between authorship and meaning is changing, and will continue to do so as information logarithmically explodes. 
 I come at a subject from a profoundly photographic level. I am not interested in pictures that ultimately don’t work as pictures. 
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