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

 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 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. 
 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. 
 It is astonishing to remember that important art-photographs could be purchased for under $100 not only in 1950 but in 1960. 
 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. 
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