Ed Ruscha
[Artist, b. 1937, Omaha, Nebraska, lives in Los Angeles.]

 When I first did the book on gasoline stations, people would look at it and say, “Are you kidding or what? Why are you doing this?” In a sense, that’s what I was after: I was after the head-scratching. 
 I believe in intuition and approaching things as instant gratification. Just do the things you want to do, make the kind of pictures you want to make. 
 It’s a playground, is all it is. Photography’s just a playground for me. I’m not a photographer at all. 
 The photography by itself doesn’t mean anything to me: it’s the gas station, that’s the important thing. 
 Hand-crafted photographic prints are dead as a fine art. I think the real fine art of photography is in picture-making. The making of an impression of a negative onto photographic paper is not as important as the actual picture value of the image, which could be reproduced in a magazine, a newspaper, or a ten cent xerox. (1979) 
 Originally, I thought that the pictures were a means to an end, a vehicle to make a book. And than along the way came some gear shifting. Over the years, I began to appreciate print quality and see my photographs as not necessarily reproductions for a book but having their own life as gelatin silver prints. (2004) 
 I wanted to make a book of some kind. And at the same time, I—my whole attitude about everything came out in this one phrase that I made up for myself, which was “twenty-six gasoline stations.” I worked on that in my mind for a long time and I knew that title before the book had even come about. And then, paradoxically, the idea of the photographs of the gasoline stations came around, so it’s an idea first—and then I kind of worked it down. 
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