Hilla Becher
[Photographer, b. 1934, Potsdam, d. 2015, Düsseldorf.]

 There are stillborn topics, where its apparent that the subject won't lead very far, because its not historically founded or is not anchored in the present or has been previously done. Think of the Cindy Sherman syndrome. 

Brassaï (Gyula Halász)
[Photographer, b. 1889, Brassó, Transylvania, Hungary (now Romania), d. 1984, Eze, Alpes-Maritimes, France.]

 ... we photographers are nothing but a pack of crooks, thieves and voyeurs. We are to be found everywhere we are not wanted; we betray secrets that were never entrusted to us; we spy shamelessly on things that are not our business; And end up the hoarders of a vast quantity of stolen goods. 

Richard Avedon
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 2004, San Antonio, Texas.]

 Nothing about [Diane Arbus’s] life, her photographs, or her death was accidental or ordinary. They were mysterious and decisive and unimaginable, except to her. Which is the way it is with genius. 

Elliott Erwitt
[Photographer, b. 1928, Paris, France, lives in New York.]

 Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy—the tone range isn’t right and things like that—but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention. 

John Waters
[Filmmaker and photographer, b. 1946, Baltimore, Maryland, lives in Baltimore.]

 For most people, the word voyeur is a bad word; to me, it’s a realistic one. Whatever your secret obsession is, that’s what you need to look at again and again and again. It doesn’t matter what it is. Was Ansel Adams—who spent a lifetime looking at mountains, making pictures, and getting off on them—a voyeur? 

Paul Graham
[Photographer, b. 1956, Stafford, England, lives in New York.]

 The “decisive moment” is bullshit. There are ten pictures before and ten pictures after every one of them: [Henri Cartier-Bresson] actually took thirty pictures of people leaping over that puddle. 

Imogen Cunningham
[Photographer, b. 1883, Portland, d. 1976, San Francisco.]

 You know, a documentary is only interesting once in a while. If you look at a whole book of Dorothea [Lange]’s where she has row after row of people bending over and digging out carrots—that can be very tedious. And so it’s only once in a while that something happens that is worth doing. 

John Berger
[Writer and critic, b. 1926, London, d. 2017, Paris.]

 We hate to look at his [Donald McCullin’s] pictures, but we have to. McCullin is the eye we cannot shut. 
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