[Economist, photographer, and administrator, b. 1893, Great Bend, Kansas, d. 1975, Grand Junction, Colorado.]
Too many times nowadays the picture is expected to tell the whole story, when in truth there’s only one picture in a hundred thousand that can stand alone as a piece of communication.
Our editors, I’m afraid, have come to believe that the photograph is an end in itself. They’ve forgotten that the photograph is only the subsidiary, the little brother, of the word.
... look, there have been times when I wanted to throw the whole goddamned thing up and get out. That’s a horse of another color. There’s times when I said, “Jesus Christ, is it right to be taking these pictures?” (1965)
Let’s begin to cover the main street of America... just to see what the heck occurs on it.
By the precision of their instrument, by the very mechanical limitations of shutter, lens, and film, they are invested with credibility; simple honesty will render to their pictures the dignity of fact; feeling and insight will give their fraction of a second’s exposure the integrity of truth. And truth, universal and applicable as a measuring stick to life, is the objective of the documentary attitude.
There are times when you simply have to pose your model. The difference is in the kind of posing. It can be honest and dishonest, interesting and as wooden as a cigar store Indian.
I think the best way to put it is that newspictures are the noun and the verb; our kind of photography is the adjective and adverb. The newspicture is a single frame; ours, a subject viewed in series. The newspicture is dramatic, all subject and action. Ours shows what’s back of the action.
One, the greatest thing that I can say is that at no time, no picture that I have any recollection of did any photographer try to be cute, to ridicule, to take advantage, to in any way show anything that didn’t show respect for the person he was having the camera on. And believe me in this day and age that’s something. (1965)