John Gossage: ...One thing I’m very sparing with is photographing people. Once you insert a person into the work, he or she become the protagonist and a lot of my books are at such low intensity that it throws everything off. I want the viewer to be the protagonist in the book. Like in The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler – no people occur except for the viewer.
Lewis Baltz: I think this is one thing we have in common: that the subject of the work is the person looking at it. If you want to get a little more Zen about it, the subject is necessary for the completion of the work.
And the intellectual or imaginative engagement of the viewer is what makes the work finally a work. And if you interpose another human in the work, then he or she becomes the subject, which I think is too simplistic.
I think it’s to be used incredibly sparingly and delicately.
Do you see yourselves as the first protagonists when you take photos, so that you are actually the subjects of the work?
No. The work isn’t autobiographical, at least not intentionally.
That’s another ‘chasing the tail’ thing. In a sense everything you do is autobiographical, even the decision to be objective is subjective and so on. But if you place us next to any kind of work that’s ‘subjective’ or ‘autobiographical’ you see immediately that we’re not about that. It’s not about our journeys through the world; it’s about a universe we’re trying to look into.
--Excerpted from this interview