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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Informing Contexts – Stephen Shore and My Practice

“A photograph has edges the world does not.”

– Stephen Shore

As Shore discusses in The Nature of Photographs, there are three attributes he considers essential to the interpretation of photographs:-

  1. The physical level (concerned with the materiality of the image)

  2. The depictive level (consisting of flatness, the frame, time and focus)

  3. The mental level, symbols which enable us to make sense of the image.

He states that there are common qualities that photographic prints tend to have.  These determine how the world is transformed into a photograph and provide us with a visual language with which to interpret the image and the narrative portrayed.

Although my work is better described by Shore’s levels than by Szarkowski’s, his descriptions do have limitations when compared to my work.  He discusses the print as being a flat object with edges.  My current practice is producing a more 3-dimensional image.  My work and its narrative are not intended to be formally constrained and determined by the physical form alone.  It is intended to tell a story in a 3-dimensional manner.


Shore, S. From A-Z Quotes. 2017. Stephen Shore quote: A photograph has edges the world does not.. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 08 February 2017].

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