[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]
With the camera, it’s all or nothing. You either get what you’re after at once, or what you do has to be worthless.
...nature photographs downright bore me for some reason or other. I think: “Oh, yes. Look at that sand dune. What of it?”
I work rather blindly. I have a theory that seems to work with me that some of the best things you ever do sort of come through you. You don’t know where you get the impetus and response to what’s before your eyes.
I do note that photography, a despised medium to work in, is full of empty phonies and worthless commercial people. That presents quite a challenge to the man who can take delight in being in a very difficult, disdained medium.
When you say “documentary,” you have to have a sophisticated ear to receive that word. It should be documentary style, because documentary is police photography of a scene and a murder ... that’s a real document. You see, art is really useless, and a document has use. And therefore, art is never a document, but it can adopt that style. I do it. I’m called a documentary photographer. But that presupposes a quite subtle knowledge of this distinction.
It’s too presumptuous and naïve to think you can change society by a photograph or anything else... I equate that with propaganda; I think that’s a lower rank of purpose.
I say half jokingly that photography is the most difficult of the arts. It does require a certain arrogance to see and to choose. I feel myself walking on a tightrope instead of on the ground.
The secret of photography is, the camera takes on the character and personality of the handler.