From Talia Bloch’s article for The Brooklyn Rail:
Joshua Lutz wants us to feel more than he wants us to know. A photographer and artist who grew up with a mentally ill mother, Lutz has come out with a new book focused on his mother’s life that is as emotionally compelling as it is parsimonious with the biographical details it divulges.
“We want so badly to understand. We want to know,” said Lutz, who teaches at Bard College, the International Center of Photography, and Pratt Institute. “This is what makes photographs so powerful. We get little hints of reality and we want to know what that reality is.”
Because we trust them to capture and present a verifiable reality, we endow photographs with the authority to convey the truth, even though they present just a sliver of a slice of a scene. Wired to create meaning out of what we see, we go beyond what is actually visible in an image to construct a context and a narrative that will make the image comprehensible to us. Understanding a photograph is therefore just as much about what the viewer brings to it as it is about what’s in the picture.