A young photographer shows his work: pictures of gratings, crosswalks, curbs, textures, grids, faultless exercises in graphics that seem to repeat all of recent American photography. What can we say about it? Mention the quality of the prints? The precision of the framing? What can we do to not appear inattentive? Looking at the photographs twice, go through them again slowly while we feel the other's presence near us, tense, pretending to be looking somewhere else? And then, why can't we say that we have nothing to say, that this work elicits nothing in us but a dreary impression of quality? "You should photograph the people you love with the same precision as you photograph your gratings." That's what we should say.

-- Hervé Guibert,
        Ghost Image, 1982

Comments on "Advice"

Jon Fernquest
July 5, 2003 09:27 PM

I read Guibert's novels, but I didn't know he had a book on phootgraphy translated into English. Thanks!

I read it as putting primacy on people photography vs photography of static objects like landscape and still life, but what does "precision" mean? Does it mean putting those people in static poses like we use for still lifes or does it mean mastering our techniques for capturing people in the flux of their activities, much more difficult!


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