Edward Curtis
[Photographer and ethnographer, b. 1868, Whitewater, Wisconsin, d. 1952, Los Angeles.]

 I devoted thirty-three years to gathering text material and pictures for [The North American Indian]. I did this as a contribution; without salary, direct or indirect financial returns. When I was done with the last volume, I did not possess enough money to buy a ham sandwich; yet the books will remain the outstanding story of the Indian. (1937) 

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 I remember a long time ago when I first began to photograph I thought, there are an awful lot of people in the world and it’s going to be terribly hard to photograph all of them, so if I photograph some kind of generalized human being, everybody’ll recognize it. It’ll be like what they used to call the common man or something. It was my teacher, Lisette Model, who finally made it clear to me that the more specific you are, the more general it’ll be. 

Idris Khan
[Artist, b. 1978, Birmingham, England, lives in London.]

 I try and grasp the essence of a particular work, fuck about with it on the computer, and then display all the essence of a complete work on the wall. 

Alfred Stieglitz
[Photographer and curator, b. 1864, Hoboken, New Jersey, d. 1946, New York.]

 Don’t be afraid. Just go ahead—photograph, photograph, photograph. That’s the only way you’ll learn. 

James Nachtwey
[Photographer, b. 1948, Syracuse, New York, lives in New York.]

 The flow of reality has contours and dimensions much like the flow of a river. The characteristics of the current depend on the channel, whether it is a product of history or geology. Documentary photography has similar properties. The images I create are a confluence of what is in front of me and what is inside of me. They are objective and subjective at the same time, and they must be seen that way by the viewer in order to be convincing. 

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 I’ve got incredible power in my closet. Not power to do harm—just the feeling that I’ve captured people who have since died and people who will never look that way again. The camera is cruel, so I try to be as good as I can to make things even. 

Nigel Henderson
[Photographer, b. 1917, London, d. 1985, Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex, England.]

 If you encounter photography for yourself and if you’re restless, you’re going to reinvent photography for a while. 

Hunter Thompson
[Writer, b. 1937, Louisville, Kentucky, d. 2005, Woody Creek, Colorado.]

 These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport. (On photographs of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq)