There was photography, but there was also the photographic life. I couldn't imagine one without the other and wanted them both.When I pictured this life it was in ideal terms. I would immerse myself fully in life and from that involvement photographs would flow. In the name of photography I would travel widely, but also deeply. The photographs I made would be published in magazines and books and exhibited in museums. I would take time to teach and write about photography.

All of that has happened and by itself is enough to call a life.

But living it had the power to take me away from another life - the life of observing small details and daily dramas, like this scene of French Canadians singing patriotic songs in the men's room of the Montreal airport in 1972. Photographing the scene wasn't part of my assignment. I was on my way to that. But I didn't want assignments to dictate my photography; I wanted life to.

And so I began keeping a diary of black and white photographs. (At that time I thought black and white was photography.) I kept the images on contact sheets which gave a narrative quality to the diary and, I thought, to my life.

I was interested in learning something from the diary. Were there artistic and emotional differences between black and white and color photography? Was one form of these separate sides of photography more truthful?

What I thought was separate has turned out not to be. I had the same spiritual stake in the diary as I did in my color work. The two, taken together, express what it means to me to live the photographic life.


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