Alvin Langdon Coburn
[Photographer, b. 1882, Boston, Massachusetts, d. 1966, Wales.]
Why should not the camera throw off the shackles of conventional representation? (1916)
It is my hope that photography may fall in line with all the other arts and with her infinite possibilities, do things strange and more fascinating than the most fantastic dreams.
Photography is too easy in a superficial way, and in consequence is treated slightingly by people who ought to know better. One does not consider Music an inferior art simply because little Mary can play a scale. (1916)
What we need in photography is more sincerity, more respect for our medium and less respect for its decayed conventions. (1916)
I wish to state here very emphatically that I do not believe in any sort of handwork or manipulations of a photographic print or negative. I would much rather have a hard, sharp, shiny, old-fashioned silver print... than the modern trash, half photography, half indifferent draughtsmanship... (1913)
I affirm that any sort of photograph is superior to any sort of painting aiming at the same result.
Why, I ask you earnestly, need we go on making commonplace little exposures that may be sorted into groups of landscapes, portraits and figure studies? Think of the joy of doing something which it would be impossible to tell which was top and which was the bottom!... I do not think we have begun even to realize the possibilities of the camera. (1916)
I have not attempted to do anything eccentric in the way of portrayals, but I have studied my men and their works with enthusiasm, and in each instance I have tried to catch and reveal the elusive something that differentiates a man of talent from his fellows, and makes life worth while, worth struggling with towards ever great understanding. (1913)