From Luke Abby’s in-depth interview with James Bidgood for Issue No. 5 of À Part:
[À PART]: What could you tell us about the relationship between your set construction and the photographs that you take? Does the process of construction change your ideas? Is it a concurrent process of discovery ?
[Bidgood]: I think I answered that above, but the ‘art’ part troubles me: I have often said that I do not know what ‘art’ is, rather I only know it is very like Yiddish and nothing like plumbing. I have in the past few years concluded that. . . without the fire in the belly. . . I do not think it is ‘art.’ If it is not the result of an overwhelming amount of joy or unbearable pain, I do not think it is art…
It may be very interesting or decorative etc. but it is to me the difference between a great novel and a crossword puzzle. When you write a musical the songs are there to better express what words alone cannot say. So you sing them, or you paint them, or sculpt them. I have still never exactly figured out what ‘art’ is, but I do not think you can decide one day to be an artist. . . It is really not a choice. . . It is an obligation: it is the only way you can continue to breathe. I am often asked what my ‘process’ is and I usually answer: ‘What process – I do not make Velveeta cheese’. I should add to that if I have a ‘process’ it is simply a lot of very hard work, months preparing for one photograph. . . and mostly a great deal of sweat and tears.