Jeff Wall’s Photography
Jeff Wall is arguably the most important photographer on the planet. Phaidon recently published a book showcasing 1,000 masterpieces from more than 30,000 years of art history. It contained only one photographer. Rather than Atget, Brassaï or Cartier-Bresson, the panel of experts chose Wall, who was born in 1946 in Vancouver, where he lives and works today.
He provokes anger, awe and huge prices for his controversial staged scenes of hostage situations and homeless shelters. The pioneer of ‘non-photography’ talks clichés, creative freedom – and his regrets.
Wall refers to his method of photography as “cinematography.” Similar to the process of making a movie, his work is dependent on collaboration with a cast and assistants who help him to develop his painstakingly constructed sets. He uses a large-format camera with a telephoto lens to achieve the high resolution and fine details that characterize his prints. This photograph, like most of the artist’s work, has been printed on a transparency and mounted in a steel-framed light box. The large-scale image is illuminated from behind by fluorescent lights, which Wall began utilizing after seeing light-box advertisements in the late 1970s.