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Is Photography a Life Experienced Second-Hand?

When I was younger, I regarded photography with ambivalence. I originally wanted to become a painter and paint like the American realist, Edward Hopper. The first paintings that I created during my years as an art student were not bad, but I soon realized that I was too impatient for oil painting. Photography became my medium of choice.

When I was on the island of Gomera in the Canary Islands, a young woman asked me if photography was a type of substitute life. I was impressed by this profound question and have thought about it often. Can the act of taking a photograph truly be as immediate an experience as our actual life? Or is the act of viewing those moments through the camera’s viewfinder ...

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