Mark Citret’s statement at Gallery 291

When Ed Carey, the director of Gallery 291, asked me if I would like my photographs to be the inaugural show in the reborn and relocated gallery, I was honored and pleased. I gratefully accepted his invitation. He looked through at least a couple of hundred prints, and from those selected the more than 50 prints hanging here.

These photographs were made during a span of years from 1971 to 2012, and represent most every theme and type of subject matter I’ve ever worked with. It’s not often that I get to view my own work through a lens of such a wide angle of time and place, not to mention literal subject matter. In living and working day to day, it’s much easier, not to mention expedient, to concentrate attention on current projects, or even just the last few weeks’ or months’ production of negatives. So as I look at the prints on these walls, what can I say, as both the photographer and, as much as possible, an impartial viewer, that can help make sense of the scope of this show?

The single motivating factor that runs through all of my work is the simple fact that I find the world to be an endlessly fascinating visual smorgasbord. The camera is the perfect instrument, and photography the perfect medium, to respond to this stimulation. If I’d had the misfortune to have lived before the invention of photography, no doubt I would have spent uncountable hours gaping in mute wonder at how beautifully the world arranges itself. And without photography to justify my obsession, or the camera to occupy my hands, there’s also little doubt that I would have caused family and loved ones a great deal of concern.

Without pride or embarrassment, I can say that I find the rebar and concrete of a construction site every bit as beautiful as fir trees delicately outlined by freshly fallen snow, and the apparent solidity of an office building as lyrical and ephemeral as fog floating over a sunlit ocean. Perhaps that is why photography, (at least in the way I practice it), while irrevocably tied to the way things literally appear, is nonetheless a magical medium of the imagination