Umberto Eco
[Writer, semiotician, and philosopher, b. 1932, Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy, d. 2016, Milan.]

 The photograph [of Che Guevara], for a civilization now accustomed to thinking in images, was not the description of a single event... it was an argument. 

Bret Harte
[Writer, b. 1836, Albany, New York, d. 1902, London.]

 Besides writing, I have been teaching myself to ‘develop’ my own photographic plates, and I haven’t a stick of clothing or an exposed finger that isn’t stained. I sit for hours in a dark-room feeling as if I were a very elderly Faust at some dreadful incantation, and come out of it, blinding at the light, like a Bastille prisoner. And yet I am not successful! 

Roman Vishniac
[Photographer, b. 1897, Pavlovsk, Russia, d. 1990, New York.]

 I was living in Germany in the thirties, and I knew that Hitler had made it his mission to exterminate all Jews, especially the children and the women who could bear children in the future. I was unable to save my people, only their memory. 

Burke Uzzle
[Photographer, b. 1938, Raleigh, North Carolina, lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.]

 A photographer’s best pictures are from deep inside him, and also some of the worst. Some photographers enjoy distinguished careers without ever taking personal photographs. Others, audaciously and arrogantly and courageously discharge their most private feelings through photography. Trouble is, sometimes it all adds up to baloney. 

Antonin Kratochvil
[Photographer, b. 1947, Lovisice, Czechoslovakia, lives in New York.]

 I was repelled by the sleazy reality of the totalitarian countries: politicians were shameless. There were corruption, pollution, shoddy goods, long lines, and suicide everywhere, but the leaders kept boasting about their great achievements and bright tomorrows. I saw all this and tried to show it in my pictures as simply and straightforwardly as I could. All I wanted to do was record how all these poor people adapted to lies and suffering, how they got used to it, how, in fact they were bound to miss it when it was over. 

Eugène Atget
[Photographer, b. 1857, Paris, France, d. 1927, Paris.]

 Now that I am approaching old age—that is to say, seventy years old—and have neither heir nor successor, I am worried and tormented about the future of this beautiful collection of negatives, which could fall into hands unaware of its import and ultimately disappear, without benefiting anyone. (1920) 

Tristan Tzara (Sami Rosenstock)
[Writer and artist, b. 1896, Moineti, Bacu, Romania, d. 1963, Paris.]

 But let’s speak of art for a moment. Yes, art. I know a gentleman who makes excellent portraits. This gentleman is a camera. 

Ai Weiwei
[Artist, b. 1957, Beijing, lives in Beijing.]

 ...photographs are facts, but not necessarily true... The present always surpasses the past, and the future will not care about today.