Keith Carter


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Keith Carter is an internationally recognized photographer and educator, whose work appears in many private and public collections, including the Houston Museum of Fine arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman House, the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, and the Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern and Mexican Photography. Numerous books of his work have been published including Heaven of Animals, Bones, Mojo, The Blue Man, From Uncertain to Blue, and Twenty Five Years. His most recent book, Ezekiel’s Horse, was published in 2000 by University of Texas Press.

To learn more about the artist visit keithcarterphotographs.com

This conversation was first seen in the Dec. 1999, Jan. 2000 issue of Camera Arts magazine.


Process – Series to Book

Keith Carter I was talking to some students in Cincinnati the other day and the question I get a lot came up, “Where do your ideas come from?” It’s a valid question.

John Paul Caponigro It’s an important question. I am not sure I have an answer, after all this time. I’m asked that frequently because my working process is somewhat different from the norm. I sketch things constantly and whether the idea arises in a dream or a daydream, in response to being out in the field, I am constantly collecting – images, sketches, quotes. I know that creativity doesn’t work in one way. It can work in lots of different ways. I like to test various ways. If one way isn’t working one day, I can go to another and see if that works.

KC  That is a very pragmatic and true way to work. I tell them, your ideas come out of the way you conduct your life – all the conversations you have had, all the good films you have seen, all the books you have read. It can come from anywhere. It can strike while you are riding in an airplane. It can strike when you are taking a shower. I have to jot them down, otherwise I get sensory overload. A lot of times, I will go back and thumb through things and think, “Well maybe I will try this.” Do you overlap projects?

JPC   I consider every body of work, while they may be distinct in certain respects, related and ongoing. I’m always processing. And I have a structure to work with, so that I know which folder to put them in, so that I can find them later. Sometimes they leap out of one and into another.

KC   I overlap series all the time also, much like a painter who works on a number of canvasses at one time. Sometimes you go back to them and sometimes they don’t really come to any kind of fruition. And some of them don’t have a large life. I tend to think in what I consider large bodies of work. It generally takes me a couple of years to finish them. But every now and then you make a false start and you see that that is almost like a short story; the idea can’t be made coherent for that long. The narrative or the heart of it just can’t be sustained.

JPC I think it is important to find those areas where the heart can be sustained for longer periods of time.

KC I do. I don’t know if it’s for everybody. But, I tend to think in larger bodies of work, mostly because I am in love with books. That is the ultimate thing to me, to have a body of work in a book. I think it is a miracle when a book comes out. I think it is the ultimate form. But that is just an opinion. If you are going to do that, you tend to think in terms of larger groups of pictures.

JPC  Many photographers think that way. George Tice feels that the book is his primary form, which is interesting for someone who is a consummate printmaker.

Graduate Study

JPC  It was interesting reading about your three-week graduate education; you immersed yourself in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection.

KC I had written the Museum of Modern Art and told them I was a serious scholar of photography, which of course was not true, and asked if I could visit their collection. They wrote back. I was so excited to get a letter from them. They said, “You can come up, but who do you want to see?” I knew just a handful of people – Cartier Bresson, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz. For three days a week, two hours each day, I went up there, in the middle of winter. I had never been to New York City. I didn’t know a soul. I didn’t have any money. I got the underground newspapers. Some Life magazine photographers were giving a series of lectures for $2, so I went to those. And poetry readings, those were free. I didn’t know what prints looked like. I was trying to make prints, but I was trying to make them look like what I saw in the books. Here I was holding these prints! I could have been holding a handful of diamonds but that wouldn’t have given me half the pleasure of holding a portrait of O’Keefe. That was really a stunning thing. And I could see where they were spotted. I could see that this was a little dark. I now had something, a benchmark, by which to go back and judge my own prints. But something else happened to me at that point. I had never heard of Paul Strand and they had a retrospective of Strand’s work at the museum at that time. I went back, day after day after day. Those prints were so dark and the color was a funny color and there was such a wide variety of subject matter. I was electrified. I never thought I could attain an Ansel Adams but there was something, to use your word, “primal” about this early Strand exhibition. It wasn’t done correctly. There was a real personality behind it. That was the big thing, the really big thing, for me.

JPC  That’s the kind of understanding you can’t get in books or through any kind of education for that matter. There is no substitute for direct experience. This reminds me of photography itself; one can paint an idea from one’s head but this is very different from going to and confronting the thing itself.

KC  It is an extraordinary thing when it happens to you and I wish it on all young people. You are lucky if you have one or two epiphanies in your life, particularly a creative one. I used to have a friend, an older man here, who said, “You know, you really only have two or three ideas in your lifetime and everything else is an offshoot of that.” I was thinking then, “I have ideas all the time.” Of course, that was 20 years ago. I see now that he was right.

JPC  Arno Minkkinen says that he has been making the same photograph his entire life. One of the favorite stories told around the house when I was growing up involved a confrontation between Imogene Cunningham and Ansel Adams. The question was asked, “How many good pictures do you get in a year?” Ansel replied, “Oh, about a dozen.” Imogene said, “Hell, one in a lifetime.”

Do It

JPC  Your three-week graduate education points to a level of saturation I think can be important. At the end of your book Twenty Five Years you made a comment that it is important to know the history of your medium, which is echoed by a number of people. Howard Shatz recommends, above all other things, that you build a large visual library. Go and look, look, look.

KC  Knowing what I know now, I don’t think there are any great secrets about making art. I really don’t. Sometimes there are a few secrets people hold dear in terms of craft, but actually in getting work done, where ideas come from or influences, but mostly about getting work done, there is no secret. You can tell students in about five minutes or less what it takes, but of course they don’t listen most of the time or they don’t have those experiences that will help them to go forth and use that information. If you are going to produce work, the only thing that counts is getting the work done.

JPC  It gets funny when Nike commercials say the same things as meditation manuals; just do it.

KC  It is really the only thing that counts. And most things in society take us away from it. I mean, we all have adult responsibilities. But the people that I know, that really have creative lives, are a little obsessed. They are obsessed with the work; they are obsessed with their own lives; and they are complex people. But they get the stuff done and most people don’t. If it was supposed to be so easy, everybody would be making great work, and we all know that is not the case. It is not easy. I used to say, “Making art is not like brain surgery or rocket science.” But I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong. Making art is indeed like brain surgery or rocket science, you simply use different tools. In the case of the harder sciences, many of those are really creative arts too. They all fall from the same source. It is very difficult to sustain an intelligent, cohesive, useful, and purposeful body of work.

Visual Poetry

KC  I always play this game, it is a harmless game, but any time I read the word poem or poetry, I change the word to photograph or photography. The meaning would always remain the same.

JPC  One of the books I use for my advanced Photoshop workshops is a little book called “Poem Crazy.” It says nothing about Photoshop, but it says everything about the creative process. You and I have both taught workshops called Visual Poetry. I’m eager to hear more about visual poetry, to hear your thoughts on how it works.

KC I can tell you how it works for me. Photography, to me, is the language of memory. The raw materials of photography are light and time and memory. Now, poetry at least in my own life, is really about your own mortality. Everything in poetry makes me think of my mortality. It is not a dark thing in life; it prepares you for the graceful things that happen in your life. It gives me a license to make any kind of picture I want with great courage. It makes me think of something the poet William Stafford said, “I write a poem every single day.” Somebody else said, “Well, what if it is not any good?” And he said, “Well, that is not a problem, I just lower my standards.” So I do that all the time. While we are on this subject, something I think of a lot is E.E. Cummings’ essay or advice to a young poet. He said, if you want to write poetry (and again, I change the word to photography) you have to work harder than anybody who isn’t a poet can possibly understand. I have many limitations in my life but I work hard and I am productive. That is true of many people. There is no getting away from the work ethic. The bottom line is what counts.

Visual Poetry (Again)

JPC  Many people are fascinated with books.

KC They are holy objects.

JPC You were talking about how you like to work on bodies of work, larger essays and I am wondering if Keith Carter were a verbal poet as opposed to a visual poet, what kind of poetry would Keith Carter write. Would it be a lyrical collection like Neruda’s Obras Completas or would it be an epic like Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained or Dante’s Divine Comedy?

KC That’s an interesting analogy. I’d say I’m a cross between Neruda and Homer. I love the lyrical aspects of pictures. I love that sort of feeling. I really have little interest in the academic concerns of the medium itself or the idea of living in a mediated culture, making pictures about pictures or things like that. It’s the ragged edges of the human psyche that interest me. It’s those small askew moments that happen in the real world that interest me. How do you find a way to say what an extraordinary experience it is to be alive in this world? That is the kind of subject matter I try to work with. On the other hand, you want to create an intelligent group of pictures. I have a little piece of paper on the back of my camera that says “Think and photograph.” Because, a lot of times things happen so fast in the real world that you might not have otherwise imagined. The other thing I have right under that is, “Never, ever, ever give up.” When your back hurts, you’ve got to go to the bathroom, you’re tired, nothing is happening, you just can’t think, every now and then I catch a glimpse of that and it lifts me right up again. I tell myself, “Well, if some rough beast is slouching toward Bethlehem, get your ass in gear.” It depends on the kind of work you do. Your work is very contemplative. I like to think my work is contemplated work but that is a manifestation of personalities.

Music to Place

JPC  As there is in my work, I sense that there is a musical connection in your work?

KC  Yes. Absolutely. I play a little guitar and I play mandolin. We have a weekly jam session here in my hometown and we have a lot of fun. I think of music all the time, but I think of muddy swamp music. I don’t think of nocturnes. I listen to them occasionally but they don’t influence my work.

JPC  How does the music influence your work?

KC  Sometimes I am out there and I think, “Go ahead, bend this note, make this picture a little off, flat a third in that scale and see what happens.” I use it in terms of analogies more than intellectual reasons. When you talk about jazz, that is an improvisation genre of music and in that respect the type of pictures I make are along those lines. But the blues is very much a can to all that.

JPC  But there is also an emotional quality in the blues that I could see as being akin to your work.

KC   It is. But again, that comes from this place, where I have grown up and have chosen to stay. I travel widely now which is probably one of the reasons I love coming from a place because I really love coming back to that place. It is what influenced me, particularly in the early years, aside from what I told you earlier, It has to do with folklore. There was Joseph Cornell, there was Joseph Campbell, and there was Vermeer, and there was always folk art. I hear a lot of the folk stories around here. There are many overlappings, of religious overtones, of this Texas Louisiana border corridor that I live in, which is flat and kind of tangled, muddy. It is kind of a backwater culture. Art is not the first thing on people’s mind. It is not a huge citadel of liberalism. But in terms of subject matter, it is an exotic, rich land, if you look at it as if you are a stranger in a strange land. This is how I have viewed things for a number of years around here. In my early pictures it really influenced my work. Most of my early work was trying to look at this place as a great exotic country. A few counties can be an exotic country. I first turned my attention inward rather than going abroad to exotic places, which is what I do now. It has come full circle. I’m grounded in this place. I live in a place where the most beautiful birds build their nests, where the most vulgar people live right next door to the kindest hearted. I can show you a place where a blue man lives. I can show you a place where a house of breath once stood. I can show you a place where a panther still comes up from a creek and sits behind a woman’s house and you can watch it swivel its head in the moonlight. You know, I don’t know where in the world I could find all that or a place that would make my life any richer.

JPC  Does the place that you have known for so long still manage to surprise you? Do the journeys away allow you to come back with fresh eyes?

KC  Absolutely. I love going to New York. I love Paris. Who doesn’t? But I love bringing that back here. It’s not for everybody. Some people need to belong to a place and some people don’t.

JPC  I think you’re highlighting that there are many advantages to belonging to a place.

KC  There are, but there are many advantages to the way you came up too, a traveler. You can’t help but know that it influences your work. You are the product of the sum of all your experiences.


JPC  I wanted to talk a little bit more about influence. Emmet Gowin said that he had to do a lot of Robert Frank to find Emmet Gowin. We talked earlier about becoming saturated in the history of your chosen medium. Does the knowledge that we acquire empower the artist, free the artist, or simply make us self-conscious?

KC  It’s probably a combination of all the above. I think it empowers you. I think you go through stages in making art. In the first stages you get excited about the medium itself. It offers a very immediate kind of gratification. Here is what I see and here is a picture of it. Then it gets harder. Then you find somebody whose work excites you, such as Robert Frank, and it opens up new doors and so you replicate them or you do work that is influenced by them. I think all of that is very, very useful in terms of your own growth. Because if you have anything at all, you will only do that for a while, and then you use what you have learned and you try to turn it into your own voice. That is where things really get hard. If you can make that leap, then you start making personal work. Personal work is where most people stop. Most people stop when it gets personal. I will tell you my greatest secret, and I probably shouldn’t, but I will tell you anyway. Here is what I think and feel and I hope it is useful to you. If you really want to do something special, if you want to make poetry, and granted most people don’t, but if you do, you have to go beyond what is merely personal. You have to reach a level in the human psyche where we are all the same. That is the real journey. And that is what I try to do with my pictures. I want them to speak on occasion to a highly sophisticated, somewhat cynical, Manhattan born and bred person as well as an uneducated laborer here in my hometown. That is a big thing to bite off. But that is my goal. I want to be the Walt Whitman of modern photography.

JPC  I agree with your assessment of the creative process. I think as we are collecting influences, from environment or mentor or subject, we often find echoes of our own voice in the voices of others, perhaps a voice we only recently recognized as our own.

KC  It is a great thing when it happens. Borges said whatever you are looking for is out there looking for you too. It’s a great phrase and I really subscribe to that. It is rare that I don’t go to a good museum and have a similar kind of experience. Now granted, I am a selfish artist and I go because I want to experience some of the things that I can use in my work, things that will help me make my work more expressive or resonant. I go for selfish reasons. I want to be made better personally. That is the gig.


JPC  Your use of selective focus is probably the best out there, bar none. Tell me about your use of focus and how you grew into it.

KC: I have probably been doing that for about 2 or 3 years now. I have for some time been trying to shorten my depth of field. In my first projects I did everything at F22 using the camera I had on the tripod. As the years have gone by and as my projects have been published, I shortened my depth of field to the point where I was doing everything at F2.8, sometimes with extension tubes, mostly because I study a lot of 19th century work and I just love that shallow focus, particularly on portraits. Of course the light level was low and the films were slow in those days, but more importantly there was an enigma in the background. It is not based on exquisite detail, which the camera is so readily capable of. It is based on how you wish to finish the story in the background. Short depth of field calls attention to what the photographer/artist wants you to pay attention to. A few years back, I wanted to keep the same optics and the same kind of look to my pictures, but I wanted to use a view camera incorrectly, basically so I could throw the planes of focus out of focus. There are several medium format cameras on the market now that have bellows systems. That is what I sort of segued into and the purpose of which was to make my sort of implied narratives a little more implied or more enigmatic. But also this is one of my half baked theories, it was a way, I mean everybody is doing it now and people were doing it before I did it, it is not something I discovered, it was a way to make pictures almost like vision itself. If you look at something it is in focus whatever you are looking at but everything in periphery is really out of focus.

JPC   2% is in focus.

KC  But your eye compensates, you think it is in focus.

JPC  The light puts a picture together.

KC  That is the theory behind to make pictures look somewhat like vision. It was to make pictures a little bit enigmatic and to let the viewer sort of finish the story in the blur.

JPC  I am hearing an echo of Michael Kent is leaving some room for the viewer.

KC  Sure.

JPC  I am also wondering if it is tied to another thing you said, “I have tried to remove most of what is superfluous in my life.”

KC  I have.

JPC  I wonder if you in a sense do that with your pictures as well, not just with the border or the frame.

KC  My mentor is a sculptor here in town and again, I don’t come from an art background. He would tell me things in the beginning, he said, “Listen, be ruthless with space.” He cropped my pictures and it was great. My mother was a photographer but she was so concerned with keeping the family together that she never had the luxury of making art or she hadn’t been in a darkroom in many, many years and she would always say things like, Oh, you have a nice sense of light or that is very nice. But David, who is my true mentor, would look at my pictures and he would crop them and he would say be ruthless with the space. If that is the only thing you have to say what you want to say so if it doesn’t need a balance of composition or is useful for other reasons in the picture, get it out of there. And, you know, to this day I am ruthless with space. Whether you like my picture or not, boy there is not a lot of wasted space in most of them.

JPC  Not one note misplaced.

KC  Less is more. He also said, “God is into details.”

JPC  I am thinking reducing focus eliminates a lot of details. It may focus it on the ones that are most important and really direct our eyes to what the artist has decided to focus on. In that sense it may make a stronger picture because basically pictures are about decisions, the decision to stop, the decision to spend time.

KC  It is all about making decisions. Now you can tell your readers that they can do it much more inexpensively but simply using the glossy and blur in photo – –

JPC  That is not how I define my life or it is not what I have always done, but I find that as students get interested in photography and then I find we urge them to go onto the computer and they get interested in the computer and then I find they come back to photography. And I don’t know if that is just indicative of just a handful of people here or if that is indicative of the greater world at large or what, or maybe it is not indicative of anything.

JPC  Only time will tell. It is going to be interesting to find out how we make pictures in another 10 – 15 years and what we look at pictures to do. Of course the whole photograph thing not only is it changing but it is returning to its original complexity. We have taken photographs for granted for far too long.

KC  I have a friend an art historian or photography historian who says, and I think he is right, all the great things, all the great things were explored beautifully in the first 25 years of the medium. I believe that to be true. I think the computer is clearly here to stay and it is one of the great discoveries and great tools but I don’t think it helps people to be any more creative. I think you own sort of sense of esthetics moves at a glacial pace. I think computer microchips can do things in nanoseconds. It is just a tool.

JPC  The great sort of echoes with what Shakespeare was saying, there are only subplots and yet we still manage to tell stories which interest each other.

KC  Same thing with writing songs.

Try New

JPC  I wonder if the selective focus doesn’t make the image more subjective?

KC  I think it does. I think sometimes it just simply a crutch too or a lack of a clear vision. I have seen it used both ways. I see a lot of commercial photographers using and of course you see it in a lot of videos too. There probably are as many ways to use that as there are people using it. That kind of thing. All I know is in my world I felt the need to change my pictures, and I knew that a handful of people who follow my pictures some of them would resist it and some of them would encourage it and that I found that to be true. But for me it wasn’t a choice. You can either stay where you are, do what you know is safe or to some extent pander to the market if you are successful and you have a bunch of collectors. Or you can do what you feel what you need to do in order to enlarge your esthetic or to take small steps forward. At least that is my theory. I don’t know that that is a good one but that is my theory. Or least that is what I try to do. You go back to Robert Frank, all of Robert Frank’s pictures were about Robert Frank. All of them. But he has taken some leaps and he has taken some chances and he has by his example to some extent given other people courage. I don’t know that that was his intent. That is a useful thing.

JPC  Very useful thing.

KC  He is also a very, very complex man like most people. I refer to him as the real thing. I think there are only a handful of the real thing out there working. Most of our colleagues aren’t. I think Sally is the same way. Sally Man has taken great leaps. I think she is also intelligent and complex. But, you know … I would rather quit than just repeat what I know has been successful. I just can’t do that.

JPC  That is the Odysseus in you.

KC  That is just not enough. In the beginning – this whole thing about making art for your – I mean there is no reason that anybody should pay any attention to my pictures or to your pictures. This thing about making art for your personal vision is really a relatively new and certainly a hugely arrogant thing. I mean art historically has been in the service of the tribe or the church or some group, but this art you should look at what I have to say because I am different, that is hugely arrogant to me.


JPC  This is all reminding me a quote of the piece that is in Twenty Five Years, this is your words, “These days I treat everything as a portrait whether it is a safety pin hanging from a string in a woman’s bedroom or a man witching for water in a field, they are the same. They are all equal. I try to give them the same weight. My own idiosyncrasy is that to me it is all poetry. But since personal idiosyncrasies is all we have to work with, we might as well hang them out there. Nice also a successful portrait is about the maker, the viewer and the subject. It is about all three in nearly equal proportions. That is when a picture really works when it is about all of us.”

KC Well I couldn’t say it any better than that. It is basically what I feel. Classically portraits – – of all the genres of photography since that Friday afternoon September 20th, 1839 when they sailed into New York Harbor aboard the steamship, of all the genre portraiture is the one that to me has made no leaps and bounds. I think some of the things made in those first 25, 30 years are completely unsurpassed by what people are doing in terms of what we call historical portraiture today. I don’t think it has been reinterpreted, reinvented in any way shape or form. Those pictures just absolutely haunt me. And maybe that is my own idiosyncrasy but they just absolutely stay with me all the time. So from using the term portraiture in classical terms, is it a person or is it a replication of a person in some sort. I use at least in my own mind try to treat everything with that same weight. There is something miraculous in making a portrait. Go back to your primitive cultures is an astounding thing. Can you imagine seeing a Polaroid picture for the first time in New Guinea? I mean that is magic. That is just as magical as drawing a horse on a wall in southern France 20,000 years ago. I just take the attitude whatever is before my camera, all creatures great and small, all things bright and beautiful, all things wise and wonderful, treat them equally, give them weight, give them depth, give them your best and sometimes poetry will create them. Sometimes you can do them justice.

One of the things I really believe is never underestimate the power that an ordinary person cries with them. I would really love to do a book of just ordinary people. It is sort of one of the small projects I work on off and on, the chance of ever getting something published like that are very small, living in sort of celebrity oriented culture as we do, popular culture.

JPC But I imagine you can do it.

KC That is where it really lies. That is me and that is my idiosyncrasy. But you have them too.

JPC It brings you back full circle. There is a sense that every picture is a self-portrait so in making portraits of others we are discovering us.

Talking Pictures

KC I must say that now that I find myself in the scholarly world or university world I went to my first society for photographic education meeting a few months ago and never had really gone to those and that is a gathering of university colleagues of photography teachers. As far as I can see, there is not a whole lot I have in common with my colleagues. That is not something that gives me pleasure to say, it is just that they come from a different place. I suppose if you come from a graduate school where you are mystiqued in studying the history of the medium and the mediated culture, you are interested in making conceptual or postmodern photographs revolving around scholarly concerns or what I call inflated rhetoric. I don’t come from that. My influences are different and like most thinking people you hold your influences dear but you want to keep an open mind. And as open as I try to be, I look at a lot of work of that gendre, gender related, photographs about photographs, art about art. And I just can’t quite get on board. There is nothing nourishing for me except the idea. And the idea I want more. I want something that makes me better or smarter.

JPC I don’t know if you know of Ananda Coomaraswamy. He was responsible for the great Asian collection at the Boston Museum. He wrote some really wonderful things on art. He said that all great art is life affirming.

KC I agree with that. I don’t know in this sort of culture that we live in now that that is really taught or thought. I would like to believe it is. I know that in my own life that is what I demand from art and if it is not there or if it is merely clever man I got people to see, things to do and I am out of there.

JPC There is more life to be lived. Do you think we talk too much about pictures?

KC No. Although we live in a culture that is completely saturated by them. The thing about do we talk too much about them, I don’t think so. I think probably in university art programs or art departments there is justifiably a lot to talk about pictures. But the thing about pictures, at least in a contemporary society such as our, I believe that is found in Terry Barnett’s book criticizing photographs he makes a point photographs carry ideological messages. You can change that to pictures but lets just say photographs carry ideological messages that cumulatively shape a culture. If you see enough photographs of a certain type, then you can conclude that those pictures are valuable to the culture. For instance, if you see enough skinny blondes on the cover of women’s magazines, you can conclude that that is an important look for this culture and therefore young woman reading those magazines should keep their bodies into that kind of shape and dye their hair. In that sense I think it is true. On the other hand, so you probably should talk about them. The thing about things like that, as soon as somebody walks out of a movie and turns to their friend and talks about it they are critics and I think we should do the same with respect to photographs, still photographs or anything. I think this is a smart, young generation and they should be critical about what they see. They should call it like they see it. And just because it is hung on a museum wall doesn’t make it good. That is a very small world that curatorial world. I think people ought to call it like they see it.

JPC I would just like to get away from the word criticism and critic. I would rather replace it with discerning and review.

KC Art that creates a dialogue is extremely important in our culture. I was on a panel discussion Saturday night in a town here in Texas for an exhibit that just came out as a book by aperture called “Boy’s Town,” and they were photographs made in the ‘70s by anonymous photographers in whore houses along the Texas/Mexican borders. Souvenir pictures. But they were collected and enlarged and they are on the museum wall and they are a bunch of drunk, pitiful guys groping women in these border prostitution houses. They are in context where they were really not meant to be seen in the way they are being shown there and it is really a powerful book like you get kicked in the stomach when you look at the thing. There is nothing sexual going on. They are not even good pictures, but you are just kicked in the stomach. As most panel discussions some of it is good and some of it not good, but it was a big group of people and there was a Hispanic woman on the second row who stood up and said she had traveled from a borderline town here in Texas, McGowan to this central Texas town to see this exhibit and to here this panel discussion and she is a middle aged Hispanic woman and she said I feel like by showing these pictures the way you are you are raping all these women. All of these women and I think you all should be ashamed of yourselves. I could have just leapt out of them and kissed her. I thought that is a great thing. She is wrong but that is a great thing that she came, that she can create that kind of dialogue, that she feels as strongly as she does and felt sure that she wasn’t the only one that felt that way. Of course there was a Hispanic woman on the panel who discussed it with her and I thought did a great job. But it created a dialogue, it created an important dialogue and I think that is what pictures should do.



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