Photography—my photography at least—arises from compulsion, from a greed and hunger of and for time…to make time, to take time, to engage time and, certainly, to escape time. It is thus repeated failure—a failure to capture, a failure to express, a failure to execute, a failure to represent. And, failure in this way extends an inviting hand. 

Optic Compulsion names the impulse and imperative of my photography. At times, purposeful, considered and thought-out, it is also erratic, impetuous and shot-from-the-hip. Instinct and intuition meld with attempts at precision and decision to produce those ocular fantasies often referred to as photographs. I would have it no other way and I don’t think I can have it any other way.

One thing is certain: I will not cease from taking and making pictures--not in the absence of a camera…not in the absence of my own eyesight.

Opportunistic and Sculptural
My photography thrives on opportunism, on what the world presents to me, which engages with the circumstances of the moment. The ability to craft a scene out of the flow of the everyday, to frame the minute as profound or the grand in miniature, to bring forth the play of line, shape, texture and color—these arise from the photographic eye engaged in a pursuit of some kind of re/en-vision. 

Creativity, as I encounter it, arises in conversation with constraints—the constraints enforced by the media employed, by the long history of artistic attempts of those who have come before us and by the immediate circumstances of one’s life, attitude and self-imposed challenges. A particular constraint of photography is that it anchors one, however tenuously, to some version of the some present moment that must be grappled with visually.

Photography, as I have experienced it, struggles with the tension between subject and form differently than other visually-oriented media to the extent that it lives off of some aspect of the world as given. In this sense, I liken photography to sculpture rather than to painting.
Dan Cook, a resident of Philadelphia, is a self-taught, non-professional photographer. He is a member of the Copley Society of Art, The Philadelphia Sketch Club and Philadelphia Photo Arts.