[Writer, b. 1902, Salinas, California, d. 1968, Sag Harbor, New York.]
I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.
Pictures... are also opinions... [they] set down what the camera operator sees and he sees what he wants to see and what he loves and hates and pities and is proud of.
No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable.
The camera is one of the most frightening of modern weapons, particularly to people who have been in warfare, who have been bombed and shelled for at the back of a bombing run is invariably a photograph. In the back of ruined towns, and cities, and factories, there is aerial mapping, or spy mapping, usually with a camera. Therefore the camera is a feared instrument, and a man with a camera is suspected and watched wherever he goes... In the minds of most people today the camera is the forerunner of destruction, and it is suspected, and rightly so.
... the camera need not be a cold mechanical device. Like the pen, it is as good as the man who uses it. It can be an extension of the mind and heart.
Probably the hardest thing in the world for a man is the simple observation and acceptance of what is. Always we warp our pictures with what we hoped, expected, or were afraid of. In Russia we saw many things that did not agree with what we had expected, and for this reason it is very good to have photographs, because a camera has no preconceptions, it simply sets down what it sees.