Jeff Wall
[Photographer, b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada, lives in Vancouver.]

 What an artist could do with photography wasn’t bounded by the documentary impulse—but that other part was underdeveloped. Painting could be topographical realism or it could be angels—in the same medium. Why couldn’t photography do the same thing? 
 I’m struck by things I’ve seen, but I don’t photograph them. If they persist in my mind, I try to recreate them. 
 Most photographs cannot be looked at very often. They become exhausted. Great photographers have done it on the fly. It doesn’t happen that often. I wasn’t interested in doing that. I didn’t want to spend my time running around trying to find an event that could be made into a picture that would be good. 
 Art inherently involves artistry. I prepare certain things carefully because I believe that’s what’s required. Other things are completely left to chance. Anything that is prepared, constructed, or organized is done in order to allow the unpredictable “something” to appear and, in appearing, to create the real beauty of the picture, any picture. 
 The essential model, for me, is still the painter, the artisan who has all the tools and materials they need right at hand, and who knows how to make the object he or she is making from start to finish. With photography this is almost possible. 
 For a long time it was necessary to contest the classical aesthetic of photography as too absolutely rooted in the idea of fact... I accept that claim, but I don’t think that it itself can be the foundation for an aesthetic of photography, of photography as art. They way I thought I could work through that problem was to make photographs that put the factual claim in suspension, while still creating an involvement with factuality for the viewer. 
 Only an idiot would take pictures of nothing but filling stations. (Referring to Ed Ruscha’s seminal 1963 book “Twentysix Gasoline Stations.”) 
 It is astonishing to remember that important art-photographs could be purchased for under $100 not only in 1950 but in 1960. 
quotes 17-24 of 37
first page previous page page 3 of 5 next page last page
display quotes