Photographs are not accidents.

I read an artist’s statement today that said, “My shooting style is so-called snapshot, so I can say all of my photographs were taken by a mere accident. They are the photographs of somewhere yet nowhere.”

Photographs are not accidents. One makes a choice to press the shutter when that which is seen, felt, observed, etc., is there. This photographer made a choice to shoot “snapshot style”. While I can understand the idea, the notion, of  a photograph being representative of no place in particular, a place that is unidentifiable, it is still a representation, a document in part or whole of what was/is there. A photograph, fabrication aside, cannot be of somewhere yet nowhere.


Published by Keith Goldstein

Photographer, husband, dad, and passionate cyclist. Lives and works in New York City.

5 thoughts on “Photographs are not accidents.

  1. I am inclined to dismiss the statement as not intended to be taken seriously. But assuming for a moment it is then…

    1. The act of writing an artist’s statement that disavows agency is inherently nonsensical;

    2. To claim to have a ‘style’ and describing it as ‘snapshot’ is contradictory to me. My understanding of ‘snapshots’ is of artless vernacular photographs with no personally identifiable style.

    3. To claim photographs were ‘taken’ implies a conscious/deliberate act therefore not ‘mere accidents’.

    4. ‘somewhere yet nowhere’ is just whimsical nonsense; pretentiousness writ large.

    In light of the above, I can’t take the ‘artist’s’ claim seriously and so wonder if they aren’t displaying a sense of humour.

    I believe you are right to challenge the statement.


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