John Szarkowski
[Curator, critic, historian, and photographer, b. 1925, Ashland, Wisconsin, d. 2007, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.]

 Pure photography is a system of picture-making that describes more or less faithfully what might be seen through a rectangular frame from a particular vantage point at a given moment. 
 The basic effect of modern mass media on photography has been to erode the creative independence and the accountability of the photographer who has worked for them. (1967) 
 [Snapshots were] pure and unadulterated photographs, and sometimes they hinted at the existence of visual truths that had escaped all other systems of detection. 
 Whatever else a photograph may be about, it is inevitably about photography, the container and vehicle of all its meanings. 
 Photography was not invented to serve a clearly understood function. There was in fact widespread uncertainty, even among its inventors, as to what it might be good for. 
 What’s happening is that people are making a billion photographs a year of their cats, frequently with the cats wearing costumes. Do you think I should be doing shows of cat photography? 
 The photographer’s vision convinces us to the degree that the photographer hides his hand. 
 Photography is a contest between a photographer and the presumptions of approximate and habitual seeing. The contest can be held anywhere... 
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