GILLES PERESS
[b. 1946] French photographer and a member of Magnum Photos

 
I don't care so much anymore about 'good photography', I am gathering evidence for history. - Gilles Peress
Collector's edition of Life, the Eisie Issue, spring 1998, page 100
I work much more like a forensic photographer in a certain way, collecting evidence. I've started to take more still lifes, like a police photographer, collecting evidence as a witness. I've started to borrow a different strategy than that of the classic photojournalist. The work is much more factual and much less about good photography. I don't care that much anymore about "good photography." I'm gathering evidence for history, so that we remember. - Gilles Peress
U.S. News, October 6, 1997
I set out only a provide a visual continuum of experience, of existence. - Gilles Peress
I don't trust words. I trust pictures. - Gilles Peress
New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers (page 46)
I don't like to describe my photographs; it's up to the viewer to make up his mind what they are about. - Gilles Peress
When I shoot a picture of somebody who's really seriously hurt, there's an unspoken exchange. Even if I could speak the language, I could not formulate the question, which is: "Can I take your picture?" In that situation, taking a photograph for the sake of taking a photograph is very trivial. The challenge is finding the language to say, "Can I take your picture in a way that is meaningful?" You don't do it with words. You do it with the eyes. You're present there with them and they know that you have a question to ask. They read your body language and they decide whether to show themselves or to hide, whether they want to be photographed. They answer with their own unspoken language. I mean, you see it right away. You can feel it right away. It's in the eyes, and they tell you, "Yes, I want you to show this to the world." - Gilles Peress
Every picture I take is like a diary entry. - Gilles Peress
The only true photojournalism is one in which the involvement continues. - Gilles Peress
I always try to escape categories because where those categories are attached, predictable forms, they really have very much to do with market, or where to market the pictures. I'm interested in what's unpredictable, and I'm interested in what happens in the no-man's-land between known categories. - Gilles Peress
..an image has several authors: there is yourself; there is the camera (because I think that photography through each camera speaks in a different way); there is reality, because reality speaks very forcefully through photography; and then there is the viewer, which is a person who looks at the image, makes his own interpretation of what’s happening. - Gilles Peress
I tried to drop every element of style, to be as simple as possible. - Gilles Peress
I always try to escape categories because where those categories are attached, predictable forms, they really have very much to do with market, or where to market the pictures. I’m interested in what’s unpredictable, and I’m interested in what happens in the no-man’s-land between known categories. - Gilles Peress
There’s a big choice to be made right now. Either you fall on the postmodernist incapacity for dealing with the world, which is that there is no accurate description of the world so there is no point in going out to look at the world. And if you’re not going to look at the world then certainly you’re not going to change it. - Gilles Peress
I think I’ve got a peculiar disease. I call it “the curse of history,” and it has to do with the fugitive absence/presence of both personal and collective memory. At first I thought it was a kind of personal illness, just related to time, private time, time that passes in one’s life. So I decided to forget and throw myself into the future. - Gilles Peress
We are entering into an age in which visual language is defined by a dialogue between photographers and audiences. This means not just the democratic posting of images but the democratic interpretation of images. - Gilles Peress
I am bad at memory—this is why I shoot pictures. - Gilles Peress
How do you make the unseen seen? - Gilles Peress
I’m proposing to you that photography is a language on its own, which is that when you look at images you do derive ideas; and I’m also proposing to you that you can derive ideas without going through words. So I’m forcing you to really look. And this process of looking, it’s like a new set of ideas that are being proposed to you. - Gilles Peress
[The photograph is] still a space to reorganize our thoughts about reality and our place in the world. How do you disentangle the surface of reality? - Gilles Peress