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Artist's Statement

I think that all passionate photographers are visually oriented people who are easily stimulated by the way things look. As a group, we want to make a record of what we see—not simply to remember it—but because we want to relive the pleasure/pain/stimulus we experienced when we first saw it, and to share the experience with our audience. The sharing, in many ways, is more powerful than the original viewing.

Photography differs from other visual arts like drawing or painting, because it begins with a direct copy of something we see in the world around us, but as any photographer knows, our images are never really a literal translation of what we see. They are composed, exposed, thought out, interpreted, and modified, so that even those photographers whose mission it is to make a literal recording, present some distortion of the world in their work, if only because of the limitations of the process itself.

The best photographs—the ones I aspire to make—evoke a sensibility and emotion in the viewer reminiscent of the feeling the photographer had as he first saw the thing that inspired him to make the image. So it follows that I think the best photographers embrace the difference between photography and vision and use it to their advantage. The photographer's art is, in my opinion, not simply to make a copy of a subject, but rather to identify something that visually excites him, and to find a way to reproduce that emotion in someone else through his photograph. Thus, I feel no obligation to produce literal interpretations of what I see, if another approach works better. So, in a lot of this work, I've layered and combined other images, to produce a more true sense of how the visual world looked and felt through my mind's eye, at the time I was inspired to record the original images. Hope you enjoy what I've seen.


Jay Matusow