Helmut Gernsheim
[Photographer, collector, and photohistorian, b. 1913, Munich, Germany, d. 1995, Lugano, Switzerland.]

 Your nightmare existence in a trunk is over... At long last you will be recognized as the inventor of photography. This picture will prove it to all the world. (On his discovery of the “first photograph,” made by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.) 
 I think only a superb news or reportage picture could move me. Other photographs may leave a strong impression on me, but they don’t move me. 
 Considering that knowledge of the chemical as well as the optical principles of photography was fairly widespread following Schulze’s experiment (in 1725)... the circumstance that photography was not invented earlier remains the greatest mystery in its history... It had apparently never occurred to any of the multitude of artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who were in the habit of using the camera obscura to try to fix its image permanently. 
 Neither camera, nor lens, nor film determine the quality of pictures; it is the visual perception of the man behind the mechanism which brings them to life. Art contains the allied ideas of making and begetting, of being master in one’s craft and of being able to create. Without these properties no art exists and no photographic art can come into being.