"LIKE A VENTRILOQUIST WHO LAUGHS AT HIS DUMMY’S JOKES, I KEEP TRYING TO MAKE PHOTOGRAPHS THAT SEDUCE ME INTO BELIEVING IN THE IMAGE – ALL THE TIME KNOWING BETTER, BUT BELIEVING ANYWAY."- LS

 

"The suburban terrain, both literally and also in terms of being an American photographer thinking about the daily, the ordinary — is what I go back to. I want to investigate the stereotype of the suburbs and complicate that stereotype, make it a richer field, something that isn’t filled with the assumption of generic lives." -LS

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“That [Ambiguity] is really important to me. Part of the difficulty facing photographers is that almost any subject matter has accumulated a representational history, so to find a new discursive space, a space to wander around those subject matters, is a real challenge. If I know too much, if the narrative is too well formed, I’m making pictures that are illustrative, and as a maker, that’s not interesting. As a viewer, that’s not interesting.”

“But that ambiguity and that play between the ordinary and the surreal or the extraordinary is really the edge that I’m hoping for. So when I photograph a kitchen that looks like a normal kitchen, and you realize slowly that maybe it’s fabricated, the whole kitchen is fabricated, It raises the question, well, why is this picture here? What’s interesting about it? So that, hopefully, encourages people to look, to inspect, and to stay with the picture a little bit. It doesn’t confirm that they’re looking at good pictures. It makes it problematic. It makes it challenging. Why is this there? What do we know? What can we tell from the picture? In that sense, I think finding that room to make pictures that don’t jump off the wall as, or detonate as dramatic, either in lighting or in form or in composition or in subject matter, but more ordinary, That’s the challenge.” -ls

"I think you can help the student define a practice that’s generative — that generates more pictures and a discovery process. A crucial point is to find names for what you do and what your interests are – to tell yourself a story. But when it comes down to making work that really sings, I don’t know if I can teach any of it. I don’t even know if I can do any of it half the time. It’s so much about failure, it’s so much about making pictures that are so utterly boring and overstated, you’re endlessly disappointed. And in that process you hopefully find something that draws you back and calls to you. You just look at that picture and it tells you something that you didn’t know. I try to engender that kind of open-ended discovery process and ask questions that generate an intensity of looking, and writing and thinking."- LS

"There’s a discovery process. Part of that discovery process is a formal question, what should a picture look like? Or what does a picture look like? What is interesting? Sometimes those take place—they don’t look like good pictures. They’re clumsy or they’re awkward or they’re wonderfully simple, and they detonate a little later. Their release time, their detonation isn’t necessarily so immediate. They work on you. Part of what I hope I’m doing as an artist is not only discovering things for myself, but for other people as well; that what we think of between that—if you go back to John Cage, between noise and music, between the banality and drama or theater, finding a frame for the mundane, for the ordinary, for the everyday—which is what my work is about, to a certain extent—is really exciting when it stays in that ambiguous place where it doesn’t look like art yet."- ls

 

"Literature especially has an interesting relationship to photography – to observation, to description, to fiction: taking something that you see and elaborating, jamming, and I think, staging. That weird practice between staging and finding is very much like a Ray Carver (story). You think, “he’s seen this,” but he’s taking that moment of observation and letting it go, giving it some wings, following it, rather than nailing it. You’re riffing off of reality."-ls