Saturday, June 26, 2010

Duane Michals

Like Ryan McGinley, Duane Michals is one of my FOREVER favs. Many of his quotes still stick with me today, in my own work, and just life in general. One that I always remember is "You're either defined by the medium or your redefine the medium in terms of your needs."

Here are some more favorites:

"The best part of us is not what we see, it’s what we feel. We are what we feel. We are not what we look at. We’re not our eyeballs, we’re our mind. People believe they’re eyeballs and they’re totally wrong. That’s why I consider most photographs extremely boring—just like Muzak, inoffensive, charming, another waterfall, another sunset. This time, colors have been added to protect the innocent. It’s just boring. But that whole arena of one’s experience—grief, loneliness—how do you photograph lust? I mean, how do you deal with these things? This is what you are, not what you see. It’s all sitting up here. I could do all my work sitting in my room. I don’t have to go anywhere."

"I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody’s face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways."

"Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if….’ And then do it."

"How foolish of me to believe that it would be that easy. I had confused the appearances of trees and automobiles and people with reality itself, and believed that a photograph of these appearances to be a photograph of it. It is a melancholy truth that I will never be able to photograph it and can only fail. I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing."

"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be."

"If you look at a photograph, and you think, ‘My isn’t that a beautiful photograph,’ and you go on to the next one, or ‘Isn’t that nice light?’ so what? I mean what does it do to you or what’s the real value in the long run? What do you walk away from it with? I mean, I’d much rather show you a photograph that makes demands on you, that you might become involved in on your own terms or be perplexed by."


What a visionary. Now I must leave before my heart explodes from love.

I'll leave you with this writing by D.M.:

How could it be that one day I will say goodbye to all of this and miss the lilac spring, the May times whistling on the wing, and the robin’s kiss? In the summertime, when days and evenings are in rhyme, you will not find me in the grove among the lilies in repose or weeding in the garden path where scented seedlings hold on fast. When autumn falls I’ll cast no shadow on the wall or hear the owl’s haunted hoot high above the rotting root. When all is orange russet red I will not be with you in bed.

The day the silent snow descends and lolls to sleep all living friends, I too will slumber in the earth among the seeds and squirrel’s birth. Who will miss me? Who will care? When I am called and no one’s there?

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