[Artist, writer, editor, and critic, b. 1896, Tinchebray, France, d. 1966, Paris, France.]
Because it did not accept the necessity of engaging in a struggle with photography that was discouraging even before it was begun, it was necessary for painting to beat a retreat so as to take up an impregnable position behind the necessity of expressing inner perception visually. (1935)
The ground beneath my feet is nothing but an enormous unfolded newspaper. Sometimes a photograph comes by; it is a nondescript curiosity. (1924)
It is through the power of images that, in time, real revolutions may well be brought about.
Radios? Fine. Syphilis? If you like. Photography? I don’t see any reason why not. (Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924)
The invention of photography has dealt a mortal blow to the old modes of expression, in painting as well as in poetry, where automatic writing, which appeared at the end of the nineteenth century, is a true photography of thought. Since a blind instrument now assured artists of achieving the aim they had set themselves up to that time, they now aspired, not without recklessness, to break with the imitation of appearances.
It will in the end, be admitted that everything, in effect is an image and that the least object which has no symbolic role assigned to it is capable of standing for absolutely anything.
And when will all the books that are worth anything stop being illustrated with drawings and appear only with photographs? (1925)
Actually, it’s quite true that [Cartier-Bresson is] not waiting for anyone, since he’s not made any appointment, but the very fact that he’s adopting this ultra-receptive posture means that by this he wants to help chance along, how should I say, to put himself in a state of grace with chance, so that something might happen, so that someone might drop in.