Truth In Photography
Should I expect what you tell us to actually be true?
Just having fun with this, you know what I think the interesting question is? It’s a question that is sort of unanswerable. But thinking about these photos I just made around Albuquerque and Cañon City, do I think that they’re actually true, or are they just good stories?
You never really get an answer to that, as a photographer. You take what you’re offered, and assume it has some germ of both in it.
It might be generational, but you go to college and art school, and they do whatever they can to rub the value out of that word: true. Thanks to the Post-Modernists, it’s almost like I have a reflex. You hear the word true, and you cringe a little bit. I think that’s sad. It should be a powerful word, but it’s been robbed of some of its weight.
There is a generational difference. I had a whole bunch of people from Yale come by a few years ago. Some graduate students and an undergraduate. Really, really smart people. God, the degree of theory they have honed their way to has made them incredibly confused.
The way I came up, there was nobody to talk. Nothing was theoretical. Everything was practical.
The above was an exchange between John Gossage and the blogger/writer Jonathan Blaustein posted on the blog, A Photo Editor. The exchange hit home because I think this is where I am out of step with the aims of current photo practice. I am searching for a truth. I am curious about the world. I don’t want to sit in front of a computer (at least not all the time) and mine for photographs. I want to go out into the world and get dirty and look and see and touch and feel and bring back something of the world. Light bounced off reality and was trapped in a little black electric box.
A hundred years from now I would want someone to pickup one of my photographs and believe that was what the world was like then.