Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 A photograph can’t coerce. It won’t do the moral work for us. But it can start us on the way. 

Lucy Lippard
[Critic and writer, b. 1936, New York, lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.]

 Photographers find themselves directly in competition with mass media’s misrepresentations of women. So the photographic terrain is particularly contested from a political point of view. 

Richard Misrach
[Photographer, b. 1949, Los Angeles, lives in San Francisco.]

 To me, the work I do is a means of interpreting unsettling truths, of bearing witness, and of sounding an alarm. The beauty of formal representation both carries an affirmation of life and subversively brings us face to face with news from our besieged world. 

Susie Linfield
[Writer and critic, New York, lives in New York.]

 The ability of photographs to conjure deep emotion is one of their great strengths. But this power—precisely because it is divorced from narrative, political context, and analysis—is equally a danger. Ironically, the more searing an image… the more misleading it can be. 

David Goldblatt
[Photographer, b. 1930, Randfontein, South Africa, d. 2018, Johannesburg.]

 I said that the camera was not a machine-gun and that photographers shouldn’t confuse their response to the politics of the country with their role as photographers. 

Walter Benjamin
[Philosopher, critic, and theorist, b. 1892, Berlin, d. 1940, Port Bou, France.]

 Rather than ask, “What is the attitude of a work to the relations of production of its time?” I should like to ask, “What is its position in them.” 

Donald Rumsfeld
[Bureaucrat, U.S. Secretary of Defense, b. 1932, Chicago, lives in St. Michaels, Maryland.]

 ...people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon. (On photographs from Abu Ghraib prison.) 

Susie Linfield
[Writer and critic, New York, lives in New York.]

 Without a political context, it is impossible to understand a photograph. This is true even—or especially—of political photographs themselves. 
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