Access & Intentionality
The most interesting moment in the Thomas Struth conversation with Gil Blank last night at SVA came about when someone from the audience brought up the issue of access and how so much of contemporary photography seems to be as much if not more about a photographer gaining access to special, hidden or exclusive sites as it is about the actual photograph of that site put on display.
A direct reference was made to Taryn Simon’s An American Index of The Hidden and Unfamiliar as well as not directly made to other big name photographers who work in a similar vain.
Struth (with Blank concurring) answered the inquiry by essentially walking around the question, saying (I’m paraphrasing) that it’s not access that mattered but intentionality. That even if everyone was given similar access to the places he photographs, the images would be completely different as it’s the person behind the camera that matters most.