This was several years ago. I was visiting photographer Dan McCormack, and he invited me to go out and do some landscape shooting with him. I told him that I didn’t do photography at all any more…I had decided that I was either going to make a total commitment to it or nothing, and I’d chosen nothing. I didn’t even own a camera any more.
He said “Come on, it’ll be fun, I’ll loan you a camera,” and finally I said OK. So we went out, shooting B&W, walking through the woods. At one point I tripped over a root and the shutter was tripped. At the end of the day Dan ran the film and printed some contacts for me. It was as I had thought…I had some pretty but conventional images. You don’t develop an eye in one day. And there was one negative which was just a blur of squiggly lines.
So we fast forward a few months. Dan has an opening in a good gallery, and I go to it, and there on the wall, matted and framed, is my blur. And it looks great.
And the question I ask students, when I tell them this story, is: Whose photograph was it? Mine or Dan’s?
And my answer is, anyone who says it’s my image, and starts talking about intellectual property rights, or demanding shared credit, or getting a lawyer…will never be an artist.