W. o’ W.: David Hockney

Martin Gayford has written an excellent new book titled “A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney.” (I added the colon.)

“Photoshop is intended to polish photographs, and the consequence is those dreary magazines where everybody looks the same… This is what’s happened to photography. Have you ever seen Hello or OK? Everything is now evened out, polished.”

“[Henri] Cartier-Bresson fitted perfectly into a technological period. To do what he did you needed the development of the faster film and the handheld camera — which was the Leica around 1925. That was the first practical and popular 35mm camera. Before the handheld came in, you needed a tripod for everything, so photographs couldn’t be made quickly. The Leica made it possible to snap high-quality images. So Cartier-Bresson’s era was the technological epoch between the invention of the 35mm and the beginning of the era when computers began to have an effect around 1980. He was the master of that period: a fantastic eye. He began when the Leica was invented, and he gave it up a little before Photoshop was invented. His rules — don’t crop the picture, for example — would be incomprehensible to a young twenty-first-century photographer. You couldn’t have a Cartier-Bresson again, because you would never believe it. Today it would be artificial.”

“Most people think time is the big mystery, don’t they? But you can’t have time without space. There’s a marvellous Wagnerian line, in Parsifal: ‘Time and space are one.’ That’s from 1882, before Einstein. It’s inconceivable to us to imagine that space might end, isn’t it? What’s there if there’s no space? And when you are looking at the furthest places in the universe, you are looking back in time. Your brain begins to burst when you try to think about it seriously; you could make yourself a bit mad.”


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