[Photographer, b. 1898, Dirschau, West Prussia (now Tczew, Poland), d. 1995, New York.]
I will be remembered when I’m in heaven. People won’t remember my name, but they will know the photographer who did that picture of that nurse being kissed by the sailor at the end of World War II. Everybody remembers that.
When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.
Once the amateur’s naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur.
I don’t like to work with assistants. I’m already one too many; the camera alone would be enough.
My style hasn’t changed much in all these sixty years. I still use, most of the time, existing light and try not to push people around. I have to be as much a diplomat as a photographer. People don’t often take me seriously because I carry so little equipment and make so little fuss... I never carried a lot of equipment. My motto has always been, “Keep it simple.”
It’s more important to click with people than to click the shutter.
We are only beginning to learn what to say in a photograph. The world we live in is a succession of fleeting moments, any one of which might say something significant. When such an instant arrives, I react intuitively. There is, I think, an electronic impulse between my eye and my finger. But even this is not enough. I dream that someday the step between my mind and my finger will no longer be needed. And that simply by blinking my eyes, I shall make pictures. Then, I think, I shall really have become a photographer.
[I was following the sailor] running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn’t make any difference. None of the pictures that were possible pleased me. Then, suddenly in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse. (On his Times Square photo taken in V-J Day.)