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

 Dragging its heavy burden of depiction, photography could not follow pure, or linguistic conceptualism all the way to the frontier. 
 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. 
 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. 
 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) 
 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. 
 I’ve always felt that good art has to reflect somehow on its own process of coming to be. 
 My practice has been to reject the role of witness or journalist, of “photographer,” which in my view objectifies the subject of the picture by masking the impulses and feelings of the picture-maker. The poetics or the “productivity” of my work has been in the stagecraft and pictorial composition—what I call the cinematography. 
 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. 
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