Walker Evans
[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]

 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. 
 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. 
 [Photography] is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood, or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances is it anything ever anywhere near a beach. 
 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. 
 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. 
 A garbage can, occasionally, to me at least, can be beautiful. That’s because you’re seeing. Some people are able to see that—see it and feel it. I lean toward the enchantment, the visual power, of the esthetically rejected subject. 
 ...nature photographs downright bore me for some reason or other. I think: “Oh, yes. Look at that sand dune. What of it?” 
quotes 1-8 of 51
page 1 of 7 next page last page
display quotes