Becoming the Cliche

“There’s a passage in Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential brick-book, Being and Nothingness, where the author describes a waiter who carries his towel just-so, who is attentive, who does all the things a waiter should do. He is the perfect waiter. Except, of course, he is not. He is a man who has the freedom to spill the wine on obnoxious customers, to spit in the soup, to walk away from the job. His pretense at being a perfect waiter is a performance in Bad Faith, a loss-of-freedom that is untrue to his authentic conscious self.

The same idea can be applied to photographers. Wear that Leica too heavily, start believing in your own legend, fetishize your style and you become the photographic equivalent of Sartre’s waiter, a caricature of a photographer who does the things that photographers do because those are the things that photographers do. ” Sohrab Hura, Magnum Photo

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One thought on “Becoming the Cliche

  1. Rob Campbell

    If your cliché is a good one, ride it whilst it last. Waves are brief; it’ll be over before you realise.

    I wouldn’t listen to someone just because they have Magnum beside their name. In truth, pro photographers can be amongst the most unrealistic thinkers on Earth. Almost by definition. It’s pretty much a job description from the start – a little madness helps us all get through it.


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