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

 The photographer’s vision convinces us to the degree that the photographer hides his hand. 
 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. 
 Like an organism, photography was born whole. It is in our progressive discovery of it that its history lies. 
 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. 
 Whatever else a photograph may be about, it is inevitably about photography, the container and vehicle of all its meanings. 
 The hard part isn’t the decisive moment or anything like that—it’s getting the film on the reel. 
 The meanings of words and those of pictures are at best parallel, describing two lines of thought that do not meet. If our concern is for meanings in pictures, verbal descriptions are finally gratuitous. 
 The basic material of photographs is not intrinsically beautiful. It’s not like ivory or tapestry or bronze or oil on canvas. You’re not supposed to look at the thing, you’re supposed to look through it. It’s a window. 
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