I think it’s wonderful that everybody can take photographs, just like I think it’s wonderful everybody can write. But there are very few writers and there are very few photographers.
Everybody has a camera, everybody can press the button. Everybody has a pencil, everybody can make a signature. But that doesn’t mean there are many great writers and it doesn’t mean there are many great photographers.
from a conversation with Laura Hubber and Annelisa Stephan
at the Getty Iris
Like many others, for example Harry Callahan and Elliott Erwitt, Josef Koudelka has steadfastly made a refusal to construct verbal scaffoldings around his photographs. I think back to what Mark Power told me once (not in so many words): that you have only a certain amount of creative energy and you have to apportion it accurately to where you need it to go. (Mark told me my writing had too much energy, and suggested I stop writing and put my energy into making pictures; it helped me decide to be a writer and stop putting so much energy into being a photographer.)
Josef Koudelka is an example of someone who puts all of his creative energy into making photographs.
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Featured Comments from:
Michael Perini: "To be sure, great photographs, like great visual art of any kind, do not need words or explanation. And great writing does not need photographs or illustrations to be great. But I also find that I very much enjoy work by people who skillfully combine words and pictures. Sometimes, I like knowing a little more, and if an artist does it with words and pictures, I'm fine with that. I enjoy it. If words or pictures can be great individually, I never understood why they can't be great together. Not as a requirement, but at the artist's option."
Herman Krieger: "In many of my photo essays, the captions are part of the photos."