The following excerpt comes from a conversation published in Aperture magazine in 2007 (#186) between writer Luc Sante and Stephen Shore, on Shore’s The Nature of Photographs (1998). Today the book is considered a primer for those who wish to read the visual language of a photograph, from negatives to found Polaroids to images on a screen. Their conversation provides an insight into Shore’s thinking behind the original publication with Sante, one of photography’s foremost critics. The photographs that accompany this interview appear in Stephen Shore: Survey, published by Aperture in 2014, which features more than 250 images from Shore’s six-decade-long career, one that serves as an important reference point in the story of photography. This article also appears in Issue 1 of the Aperture Photography App: click here to read more and download the app.
Luc Sante: I want to ask you about a particular sentence on the first page of the book: “The print has a physical dimension; it is not a true plane.”
Stephen Shore: What I mean is that it’s a piece of paper. The image has a picture plane—but a true plane exists in only two dimensions, and a piece of paper has three dimensions. I wanted to emphasize that it is an object, and that on the object there is an image. The image is an illusion that’s embedded in a physical object.