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

 Photography’s central sense of purpose and aesthetic: the precise and lucid description of significant fact. 
 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 is a contest between a photographer and the presumptions of approximate and habitual seeing. The contest can be held anywhere... 
 Whatever else a photograph may be about, it is inevitably about photography, the container and vehicle of all its meanings. 
 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. 
 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) 
 [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 has learned about its nature not only from its great masters, but also from the simple and radical works of photographers of modest aspiration and small renown. 
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