Zoe Leonard Quotes.
What attracts me in photography is not so much a fine arts approach, but rather photographs as documents… All the ways in which human beings have documented the world in an attempt to order it, in an attempt to consume it or rule it or hang on to it in some sense.
I don’t quite understand how a generation and a half after the Second World War we’ve gotten where we are now.
I was really poor for most of my adult life.
If the work is the horse, a career makes a great cart.
Making work for me is being in the world, but it’s also being specific about being in the world. I’m interested in this increasingly rare space of contemplation and taking the time and energy to be thoughtful.
I never heard the term “art world” until I was in my thirties, and I was like, “What are you guys talking about?” It’s the world, and we all live in the world!
You need to have your eyes open because it’s really scary what’s happening.
Progress is always an exchange. We gain something, we give something else up. I’m interested in looking at some of what we are losing.
There’s a desire for me in the work, even when I’m looking at the past, to be looking from the present. It’s to be here now. It’s looking in the present tense.
I like getting stuff out of the way so you can see something clearly, see it sharply, have it be new again.
Photographers talk about their shoot ratio. Like four to one, six to one, ten to one! Whatever, I’m, like, seven billion to one. It is just ridiculous. But sometimes if you can hit it just right and get everything out of the way, something will resonate on multiple levels.
I choose to work behind the camera. And I kind of want to make the work and then run away. The presentation of myself really feels complicated for me.
I’d grown up poor; I had no idea what it was like to be comfortable.
The career has to support the making and can offer a platform, can offer you a voice in the world. And that’s an incredible thing. But it’s complicated and seductive and weird and tricky. I think you have to keep figuring that out your whole life.
I’m always amazed at how people make work no matter how intense the pressure.
I’m in all of my work, and there’s nowhere to hide when you make work.
What I’ve always liked about photography is that it’s such a direct way of showing what’s on my mind. I see something. I show it to you.
I grew up in Harlem, but I moved to the Lower East Side when I was a teenager and it was … I feel like when I try to describe it, it doesn’t sound believable. It just sounds like you’re lying. And I see it on the faces of my younger friends.
We’re all busy. It’s a very fast-paced world. And art – and by that, I mean culture in a wider sense – is one of the few spaces where we’re allowed to look and think without an immediate response or reaction.
The world feels overwhelming to me on every level. Just the number of organisms that live on this planet. Our politics, our violence, psychology, emotions; there’s just a lot going on, right?
Something about photography is tied to a very specific relationship with the material world. It doesn’t have to be, but the way I practice it, it is. So there’s an act of observation, but it’s not an act of objective recording. It’s about framing something and seeing it and understanding that it’s relational.
I’ll finish a body of work and think, “Okay, I got nothing. That was it. I’m done.” And then you’ll turn a corner and be like, “Oh my God!” And it keeps happening. I feel so lucky.
I’ve been taking pictures since I was probably 16. I’m 54, and I can’t believe how excited I am.
I think making things that appear simple is incredibly hard.