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

 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. 
 In making a landscape we must withdraw a certain distance—far enough to detach ourselves from the immediate presence of other people (figures), but not so far as to lose the ability to distinguish them as agents in a social space. Or, more accurately, it is just at the point where we begin to lose sight of the figures as agents, that the landscape crystallizes as a genre. 
 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. 
 The still picture is the most free visual form, it invites the most free experience. Since it shows only an isolated moment, it cannot and must not show other moments, it can only suggest them. We take the suggestion, and elaborate it ourselves, freely, or very freely, according to who each viewer is, or wishes to be. 
 Even while I loved photography, I often didn’t love looking at photographs, particularly when they were hung on walls. I felt they were too small for that format and looked better when seen in books or as leafed through in albums. (On his feelings in the 1960s and ‘70s) 
 Only an idiot would take pictures of nothing but filling stations. (Referring to Ed Ruscha’s seminal 1963 book “Twentysix Gasoline Stations.”) 
 The everyday, or the commonplace, is the most basic and the richest artistic category. Although it seems familiar, it is always surprising and new. But at the same time, there is an openness that permits people to recognize what is there in the picture, because they have already seen something like it somewhere. 
 I’m not sure any of us has made photographs as good as Evans’. 
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