For many years I worked exclusively in black and white. I was a reluctant convert to colour and took more than a few photographs in colour before showing them (this was in the late 1990s). Besides believing I had things to say in colour that I couldn't say in black and white, what persuaded me to start using colour film is that something unexpected can happen when you use it.
I had thought that black-and-white film worked best (I still very much like it), not least because it leaves a lot for the viewer to fill in. What fascinated me about colour was that the colour in the photograph rarely matches the colour of the objects and spaces as one notices and remembers them.
For someone as interested as I am in how different things appear when looked at long and hard from the outside, this seemed like something I should explore, indeed needed to explore. Once I let go of the idea that colour film provides an accurate record of what there is, and noticed that there is no right answer to the question of how a white wall will appear when photographed using colour film, I was on my way. I came to think that the inaccuracies are all to the good. They are not to be corrected but embraced and highlighed.
This photograph illustrates particularly well what I am talking about. Where is the pinkish-salmon light on the doors at the sides of the room coming from? Who knows how it came about and why it is salmon-pink ? It is as if an artist who uses theatrical lighting gels had been working there just before I made the picture. The silver of whitish light coming from behind the blue curtains is also strange. It is too blue to be daylight. And while the wash of bright light on the tile floor looks like sunlight, it is not clear that it can be. Finally how are we to consider the larger-than-life, black-and-white guard dog above the centre doorway? It hardly makes the image more cherent, or leaves one any the wiser about what has been and will be going on here.
Catalogue "Lynne Cohen - Faux Indices" - Exhibition at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal - from February 7 to April 28, 2013 / Lynne Cohen & François LeTourneux (Page 55)