One reason for outlining the development of this project was to use it as a specific example of how work is shaped by the process of doing it, the process of discovering what the result will be, the process as an ongoing analysis. When I began the project, I was working with methods and models derived from and suited to the requirements of the newspaper business. But, as the work evolved, what I wanted the photographs to be about and accomplish left those requirements behind. As I developed new conceptual and visual tools, they, in turn, opened up new questions and new forms of visual expression. As a consequence I found myself reconceptualizing how I used multiple photographs — images that, taken together, explore an idea with greater subtlety and nuance than could any individual photograph alone. I eventually began making photographs that contained many references to ideas contained in other photographs — qualifications, expansions, and elaborations of those ideas — and single photographs could no longer communicate my full meaning. This way of working with photographs uses the novel, rather than the oil painting, as its model. The individual image is not the conceptual unit. The conceptual unit is the combination of many images.(20)

Making links between photographs became an automatic part of my working method. Having developed a group of related ideas, I was always alert for particular objects I could photograph that might express those ideas symbolically. As I photographed, I fleshed out ideas and tried to expand their meanings by describing them in a new context. When I saw people in different settings who were dressed alike or doing something in the same way, the similarity of their dress or action suggested to me that a common idea might underlie the surface similarity. Sometimes I found that objects I initially included in the frame, because they suggested the shape of something else in that frame or in another photograph, had a conceptual connection to other photographs. I learned to be sensitive to these connections, even before they were fully developed in my own mind, even though I had only a vague intuition that there might be specific connections and references. The pattern of passive postures, for example,


Finding the Vocabulary