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JOHN DIVOLA
[b. 1949] American contemporary visual artist
It’s hard to see things. The way we look at the world is so edited; we’re just editing machines, essentially. It’s a weird compromise between what you expect to see and want to see and what’s there. - John Divola

I really don’t worry too much about what I see through the viewfinder, at least not at that point, especially if I’m using a flash because I don’t know what it’s going to do. I just see vague potentiality. It’s really working with a set of attributes that will hopefully interact in an interesting way. - John Divola

I started thinking, here I am, this old guy, going into these old places and skulking around, doing this thing I’ve been doing for 40 years. I got this weird feeling that I was haunting my past practice, becoming this kind of a specter in relationship to it. So I thought, ‘Why not go with that?’ - John Divola

Here we have two vectors and velocities, that of a dog and that of a car and, seeing that a camera will never capture reality and that a dog will never catch a car, evidence of devotion to a hopeless enterprise. - John Divola - On his photographic project "Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert."

..something in the medium [is] inherently melancholic. Absence is built into the process, the photograph as this dead industrial thing. Being simply silver on paper, or dye on paper, in itself represents the absence of whatever is represented; it is an index of loss, a lost present that cannot be retrieved. - John Divola

The beauty of photography is that it takes a fraction of a second; to investigate the potential of an idea at a very low cost, it’s not like you have to wait a month to complete a whole painting. So you can get an idea and give it a try and all of a sudden you might see some potential. - John Divola

The reason I got into photography was that I wanted to enjoy doing it; I sought pleasure in the process. - John Divola

The photograph as an object has a relationship to that which it represents something like the relationship the snake skin has to the snake that sheds it. - John Divola

I don’t look for things to see how they function as metaphors.... You can’t photograph the sublime. You can only traffic in the specific and its relationship to the symbolic. - John Divola

To photograph is often compared to an act of redemption—to select from an infinite number of choices that which is to be remembered. - John Divola

In all my work there’s this notion of the melancholic. You can make a photograph about the sublime, but you can’t make the sublime itself. - John Divola

It’s good to be around people who see [photography] as a reasonable enterprise when everyone in the neighborhood may think it’s ridiculous. - John Divola - On the benefit of teaching photography.

The beauty of photography is that is pulls you not only literally out into the world, but pulls your consciousness into a mode of observation that is really rewarding, almost addicting. - John Divola

I want things to be dumb and obvious and flat-footed, but to address the most ambitious possible iconography. - John Divola

Why differentiate between sculpture, painting, and performance when it’s all going to end up as a photograph anyway? - John Divola

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