John Rosenthal


If photography is about anything it is the deep surprise of living in the ordinary world. By virtue of walking through fields and streets, and focusing on the small and the unexpected, and conferring attention on the helter-skelter juxtapositions of time and space, the photographer reminds us that the actual world is full of surprises, which is exactly what most people, imprisoned in habit and devoted to the familiar, tend to forget.

A well-composed image will catch our attention because the eye finds a certain satisfaction in composure. But that is not enough. Good photographs are also disturbing, and inevitably remind us of what we have overlooked.

 Sometimes a photograph offers the photographer a gift he didn’t expect, a marvelous detail – what the eye longing for meaning sees unconsciously, and includes. How wonderful it is that the decision to take a photograph is mysterious and sometimes more than we bargained for.

Does a photograph speak truly and personally, or does it trick itself up with filters and software games? Does it sentimentalize reality? These are important questions to me. Does it come from a place where I’m still fresh, or am I repeating myself? Am I photographing the exotic for its own sake, or am I capturing an actual luminosity that resides in the ordinary?