Sentences on Photography

Torbjørn Rødland

1. The muteness of a photograph matters as much as its ability to speak.

2. The juxtaposition of photographs matters as much as the muteness of each.

3. All photography flattens. Objectification is inescapable.

4. Photography cannot secure the integrity of its subject any more than it can satisfy the need to touch or taste.

5. Good ideas are easily bungled.

6. Banal ideas can be rescued by personal investment and beautiful execution.

7. Lacking an appealing surface, a photograph should depict surfaces appealingly.

8. A photograph that refuses to market anything but its own complexities is perverse. Perversion is bliss.

9. A backlit object is a pregnant object.

10. To disregard symbols is to disregard a part of human perception.

11. Photography may employ tools and characteristics of reportage without being reportage.

12. The only photojournalistic images that remain interesting are the ones that produce or evoke myths.

13. A photographer in doubt will get better results than a photographer caught up in the freedom of irony.

14. The aestheticizing eye is a distant eye. The melancholic eye is a distant eye. The ironic eye is a distant eye.

15. One challenge in photography is to outdistance distance. Immersion is key.

16. Irony may be applied in homeopathic doses.

17. A lyrical photograph should be aware of its absurdity. Lyricism grows from awareness.

18. For the photographer, everyone and everything is a model, including the photograph itself.

19. The photography characterized by these sentences is informed by conceptual art.

20. The photography characterized by these sentences is not conceptual photography.

Initially published in Triple Canopy, Issue #12: “Black Box,” May 5, 2011


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