[22Dec20] There is a tendency to over-intellectualise photographs and photography and to ascribe to them and to it more heft and value than they have potential to bear. I have a great respect for photographers who do not make extravagent claims for their work, who leave it uo to the various viewers to interpret in their numerous ways: I value an intuitive approach to the craft.
Even if the intention of the photographer is virtuous and even, then, if the effect of a photograph is profound, Sontag's warning (often quoted in these pages) should be kept in mind † see note,
photographs do not seem strongly bound by the intention of the photographer Sontag, On Photography, quoted in La Grange (2005) p.37
This page was prompted by a quote from Les Krims in A.D. Coleman's 1979 collection Light readings - further details here.
I can’t intellectualize about my photographs. I must persist in making the pictures I feel obliged to make-what else would I do if I didn’t?-but I don’t really understand them on any level I could describe verbally. Les Krims, quoted by A.D. Coleman in Light Readings p.60.
This brought to mind Cindy Sherman in an O'Hagan interview at the time of her NPG show,
I’m not personally articulate,” she says when I mention this. “I don’t even like giving lectures, and I certainly couldn’t debate with anyone, but I have strong personal stances. I couldn’t be an advocate but, through my work, I can be outspoken. What’s also important, though, is that the work is always ambiguous, that it lends itself to interpretation. I’m not a message artist. quoted by Sean O'Hagan in The Guardian, 8 June 2019
and Winogrand's widely circulated quote,