John Baldessari
[Artist, b. 1931, National City, California, lives in Venice, California.]

 Probably one of the worst things to happen to photography is that cameras have viewfinders. 
 I didn’t see painters doing paintings of glassware and glass shelves or sand dunes and receding snow fences. Why does that interest photographers and not artists? 
 There’s no such thing as a bad photograph. 
 Photos should suggest a word(s) and vice versa. They should be equal and interchangeable. 
 I want to produce images that startle one into recollection. 
 Ideally I would like the work to be a hybrid between painting and photography. 
 The real reason I got deeply interested in photography was my sense of dissatisfaction with what I was seeing. I wanted to break down the rules of photography—the conventions. I discovered I was more of a “thinking” person than a “working” person. Photography allowed me to register my ideas more rapidly than painting them. They grew out of a sense of urgency. If you’re stranded on a desert island and a plane flew over, you wouldn’t write “HELP” in Old English script. 
 What I try to do is reinvigorate strategies and clichés I find in Hollywood movies. At a certain point I had these huge folders, each one classified according to subject matter or genre: people with guns, people kissing, Indians and cowboys falling off horses, getting shot, getting shot with arrows—almost every plot device. Then I cropped the cheap, recycled imagery to give exhausted images new meaning, or at least something other than their original meaning. I’m basically reassembling atoms to give them a meaning that’s more au courant. 
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