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

 When I’m working well, I can make a lot of pictures at one time—three or four, each one as good as the next. Then I can go for a year without making one good exposure. 
 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. 
 It takes me a long time to change. I don’t think you can just go out and figure out a bunch of visual ideas and photograph. The change happens in living and not through thinking. 
 I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos. 
 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 thought at one time I should benefit humanity, but I don’t even know what that means anymore, and then you think, well, you’re doing it to satisfy yourself, but there’s more to yourself than just satisfying yourself too, and so I really think that it’s just that I want to leave something for somebody. 
 Photography is an adventure just as life is an adventure. If man wishes to express himself photographically, he must understand, surely to a certain extent, his relationship to life. I am interested in relating the problems that affect me to some set of values that I am trying to discover and establish as being my life. I want to discover and establish them through photography. 
 I wanted something important, something spiritual in my life. And as these feelings developed, I found that my spiritual enrichment came through art. It was then that I realized that I wanted to be an artist. That’s it. You see, I learn slowly, but every day I seem to learn more. 
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