Berenice Abbott
[Photographer, writer, teacher, b. 1898, Springfield, Ohio, d. 1991, Monson, Maine.]

 I have yet to see a fine photograph which is not a good document. 
 Let us first say what photography is not. A photograph is not a painting, a poem, a symphony, a dance. It is not just a pretty picture, not an exercise in contortionist techniques and sheer print quality. It is or should be a significant document, a penetrating statement, which can be described in a very simple term—selectivity. 
 I’m not a nice girl; I’m a photographer. (On being told by a Federal Art Project official, after she photographed the Bowery, that “a nice girl should not go into such neighborhoods”) 
 What we need of equipment is this: let it possess as good a structure as the real-life content that surrounds us. We need more simplifications to free us for seeing. 
 I think the important decision for a photographer is to choose a subject that intensely interests him or her. 
 Suppose we took a thousand negatives and made a gigantic montage; a myriad-faceted picture combining the elegances, the squalor, the curiosities, the monuments, the sad faces, the triumphant faces, the power, the irony, the strength, the decay, the past, the present, the future of a city—that would be my favorite picture. 
 [Composition is] as closely tied up with the body of the picture as veins and muscles are articulated with the human body. 
 There are many teachers who could ruin you. Before you know it you could be a pale copy of this teacher or that teacher. You have to evolve on your own. 
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