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

 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. 
 A beginning photographer hopes to learn to use the medium to describe the truth. The intelligent journeyman has learned that there is not enough film to do that. 
 [Snapshots were] pure and unadulterated photographs, and sometimes they hinted at the existence of visual truths that had escaped all other systems of detection. 
 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. 
 Photography’s central sense of purpose and aesthetic: the precise and lucid description of significant fact. 
 I am not especially interested in anonymous photography, or avant-garde photography, or in straight, crooked, or any other subspecific category; I am interested in the entire, indivisible hairy beast—because in the real world, where photographs are made, these subspecies, or races, interbreed shamelessly and continually. (2006) 
 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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