Harry Callahan
[Photographer, b. 1912, Detroit, Michigan, d. 1999, Atlanta, Georgia.]

 I sort of believe that a picture is like a prayer; you’re offering a prayer to get something, and in a sense it’s like a gift of God because you have practically no control—at least I don’t. 
 If you choose your subject selectively—intuitively—the camera can write poetry. 
 The difference between the casual impression and the intensified image is about as great as that separating the average business letter from a poem. 
 I think what photography can do really well is allow you to make a life’s work… So theoretically—the series is first, then the group is next, and the whole life’s work is the grand finale. (1979) 
 To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there is no guarantee that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters. 
 I really didn’t have much to teach. I didn’t even believe in it. I felt so strongly that everybody had to find their own way... In terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it. If you don’t do it, you don’t know what might happen. 
 I sort of believe [previsualization] is untrue. I mean, are [Ansel Adams and the others] previsualizing a masterpiece, or a perfect print, or what? If I knew every picture I made was going to be a real picture, maybe I could go along with that, but I can’t. 
 I just don’t know what makes a picture, really—the thing that makes it is something unique, as far as I can understand. Just like one guy can write a sentence and it’s beautiful and another one can write it and it’s dead. What the difference is, I don’t know. 
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