Quotations  |  Paul Caponigro

 

Born in Boston in 1932, Paul Caponigro is renowned as one of America’s most significant master photographers. When he was thirteen, he began to explore the world around him with his camera and subsequently sustained a career spanning nearly seventy years. He is currently regarded as one of America’s foremost landscape photographers.Acclaimed for his spiritually moving images of Stonehenge and other Celtic megaliths of England and Ireland, Caponigro has also photographed the temples, shrines and sacred gardens of Japan and inspires viewers with glimpses of deep, mystical woodland of his New England haunts. 
Caponigro approaches nature receptively, preferring to utilize an intuitive focus rather that merely arranging or recording forms and surface details.

 
 
Photography’s potential as a great image-maker and communicator is really no different from the same potential in the best poetry where familiar, everyday words, placed within a special context, can soar above the intellect and touch subtle reality in a unique way.
At the root of creativity is an impulse to understand, to make sense of random and often unrelated details. For me, photography provides an intersection of time, space, light, and emotional stance. One needs to be still enough, observant enough, and aware enough to recognize the life of the materials, to be able to ‘hear through the eyes.
It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.
The key is to not let the camera, which depicts nature in so much detail, reveal just what the eye picks up, but what the heart picks up as well.
In my years of photography I have learned that many things can be sensed, seen, shaped or resolved in a realm of quiet, well in advance of, or between, the actual clicking of shutters and the sloshing of films and papers in chemical solutions. I work to attain “a state of heart”, a gentle space offering inspirational substance that could purify one’s vision. Photography, like music, must be born in the unmanifest world of spirit.
Some of my photographs have always been a mystery to me in terms of how I arrived at them. Even with the technical ability to produce fine prints, I am hard put to know how it happens, yet unless technique and materials are seriously investigated and experienced, I see that moving statements are seldom made. The process of photography ever invites me. I hope never to lose this feeling. At times I make photographs for the sheer magic of its process, and the good feeling about the very stuff needed: light, chemical combinations, some imperceptible forces at work behind the scene. I am part of the drama which takes the guise of photography.
Photography is a medium, a language, through which I might come to experience directly, live more closely with, the interaction between myself and nature.”
I’ve got to get the ultimate in composition today. or I’ve got to get the ultimate in light, I’ll stay here until it appears. I was not making any demands. I went purely to see what would come, what might be there. I didn’t have to be archaeologist or historian or tourist, I just needed to be available.”
The only way a work of art can become great is for one to acknowledge that it doesn’t belong to anybody. The greatness is in constantly giving back, coming to an acknowledgment of the source. Look back to the source of any individual, any process, any set of materials. If the individual personality can relinquish its insistence on concepts like this is mine, I did it, this is original, nobody else has done it, it goes straight for greatness or the essential spirit.
Photography’s potential as a great image-maker and communicator is really no different from the same potential in the best poetry where familiar, everyday words, placed within a special context, can soar above the intellect and touch subtle reality in a unique way.”
All that I have achieved are these dreams locked in silver.