[Photographer, b. 1876, Herdorf, Germany, d. 1964, Cologne.]
I never made a person look bad. They do that themselves. The portrait is your mirror. It’s you.
Nothing is more abhorrent to me than sugary-sweet photography full of pretense, poses, and gimmickry. For this reason, I have allowed myself to tell the truth about our times and people in a sincere manner.
... mortification is basic to the act of photographing. The person is mobile, ... then I freeze one moment in his movement, a mere five-hundredth of a second of that person’s life-time. That’s a very meager or small extract from a life.
In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.
No language on earth speaks as comprehensively as photography, always providing that we follow the chemical and optic and physical path to demonstrable truth, and understand physiognomy.
By sight and observation and thought, with the help of the camera, and the addition of the date of the year, we can hold fast the history of the world.
From days of old, and in all periods, we find documents and books with pictures illustrating them, but photography has presented us with new possibilities and new tasks. It can depict things in magnificent beauty, but also in terrible truth, and can also deceive enormously. We must be able to bear seeing the truth, but above all we should hand down the truth to our fellow human beings and to posterity, be it favorable to us or unfavorable.
The field in which photography has so great a power of expression that language can never approach it, is physiognomy.