Gary Stochl

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Bob Thall: “Compare my career to Stochl’s experience as a photographer. I had wonderful teachers who were sophisticated and supportive. I studied with many other young photographers who became friends, competitors, and resources. I’ve received grants, fellowships, and commissions that supported my work. Curators, dealers, editors, and publishers have been generous with their long-term interest in my photography and provided opportunities for exhibitions and publications. Critics and collectors have provided me with feedback and support…I’ve been lucky and yet, I admit, at times I’ve found it difficult to keep working ambitiously as a photographer. It’s hard to keep going for decades upon decades. I’ve sometimes gotten lazy, confused, or discouraged. Despite my good luck and advantages, I’ve never found it easy.

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“Gary Stochl had none of the kind of support and encouragement I had: no teachers, no exhibitions until his first show in Fall 2003, no community of like minded photographers, no dealer, no sales, no commissions, no publications, no reviews, no grants, and no job in the field. Nothing. Absolutely nothing for almost forty years. And yet he’s consistently worked with astounding dedication, self-discipline, and ambition…Like all great stories, this one holds some lessons. Gary Stochl’s long journey should re-teach us the importance of devotion, perseverance, and personal vision. His story suggests that many of us should care a bit less about our careers and reputations and a bit more about our work.”

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