[Photographer, b. 1895, Hoboken, New Jersey, d. 1965, San Francisco.]
The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
When you are doing a lot of hard fast field work, it’s a physical necessity to forget every day. You can’t try to remember it in any continuity. You get so burdened if you try to do it the other way. You can’t dictate to your material... We found our way in, slid in on the edges. We used our hunches. And it was hard, hard living.
The good photograph is not the object, the consequences of the photograph are the objects.
I am trying here to say something about the despised, the defeated, the alienated. About death and disaster, about the wounded, the crippled, the helpless, the rootless, the dislocated. About finality. About the last ditch.
One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind. To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. I have only touched it, just touched it.
I’ve never not been sure that I was a photographer any more than you would not be sure you were yourself. I was a photographer, or wanting to be a photographer, or beginning—but some phase of photographer I’ve always been.
Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion... the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.
I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history...