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STEPHEN SHORE
[b. 1947] American photographer
I discovered that this camera was the technical means in photography of communicating what the world looks like in a state of heightened awareness. And it’s that awareness of really looking at the everyday world with clear and focused attention that I’m interested in. - Stephen Shore

I was photographing every meal I ate, every person I met, every waiter or waitress who served me, every bed I slept in, every toilet I used. - Stephen Shore - On his 1972 American road trip

A photograph has edges, the world does not. - Stephen Shore

I think most people have experienced walking down the street and for a few minutes, everything looks brighter or more vivid, or space and time feels more tangible; things seem more real. I imagine that it’s quite possible that the quality of mind can imprint itself on a picture... - Stephen Shore

Until I was twenty-three I lived mostly in a few square miles in Manhattan. In 1972 I set out with a friend for Amarillo, Texas. I didn’t drive, so my first view of America was framed by the passenger’s window. - Stephen Shore

A photographer may have questions and problems that he or she brings to a picture-making situation. At the same time, the specific situation can generate new ideas, possibilities, and problems. - Stephen Shore

I don’t feel like I have to do something that looks like a Stephen Shore picture. I’m doing what I’ve always done, which is take pictures that interest me. - Stephen Shore

It’s the bane of my existence that I see photography not as a way of recording personal experience particularly, but as this process of exploring the world and the medium. I have to be reminded, “It’s your son’s birthday party. Bring a camera.” And then, when I’m there, “Take a picture,” because it doesn’t occur to me to use it as this memorializing thing. - Stephen Shore

I wanted to make pictures that felt natural, that felt like seeing, that didn’t feel like taking something in the world and making a piece of art out of it. - Stephen Shore

I went on to Flickr and it was just thousands of pieces of shit, and I just couldn’t believe it. And it’s just all conventional, it’s all cliches, it’s just one visual convention after another. - Stephen Shore

Even in ordinary reproduction [photography] verges on facsimile. - Stephen Shore

With a painting, you’re taking basic building blocks and making something that’s more complex than what you started with. It is a synthetic process. A photograph does the opposite: It takes the world, and puts an order on it, simplifies it. - Stephen Shore

Photographers have to impose order, bring structure to what they photograph. It is inevitable. A photograph without structure is like a sentence without grammar—it is incomprehensible, even inconceivable. - Stephen Shore

There’s something arbitrary about taking a picture. So I can stand at the edge of a highway and take one step forward and it can be a natural landscape untouched by man and I can take one step back and include a guardrail and change the meaning of the picture radically... I can take a picture of a person at one moment and make them look contemplative and photograph them two seconds later and make them look frivolous. - Stephen Shore

I enjoy the camera. Beyond that it is difficult to explain the process of photographing except by analogy: The trout streams where I flyfish are cold and clear and rich in the minerals that promote the growth of stream life. As I wade a stream I think wordlessly of where to cast the fly. Sometimes a difference of inches is the difference between catching a fish and not. When the fly I’ve cast is on the water my attention is riveted to it. I’ve found through experience that whenever—or so it seems—my attention wanders or I look away then surely a fish will rise to the fly and I will be too late setting the hook. I watch the fly calmly and attentively so that when the fish strikes—I strike. Then the line tightens, the playing of the fish begins, and time stands still. - Stephen Shore

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