[Writer and theorist, b. 1929, Reims, France, d. 2007, Paris.]
Once the hallucination which should properly inhabit the image is buried beneath commentary, walled up in aesthetic celebration and condemned to the plastic surgery of the museum, it is finished.
Philip Jones Griffiths
[Photojournalist, b. 1936, Rhuddian, Wales, d. 2008, London.]
Journalists should be by their very nature anarchists, people who want to point out things that are not generally approved of. It’s by criticizing that society that humanity has made progress.
George Bernard Shaw
[Writer, critic, and dramatist, b. 1856, Dublin, d. 1950, Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England.]
If you cannot see at a glance that the old game is up, that the camera has hopelessly beaten the pencil and paint-brush as an instrument of artistic representation, then you will never make a true critic; you are only, like most critics, a picture-fancier. (1901)
Julia Margaret Cameron
[Photographer, b. 1815, Calcutta, India, d. 1879, Kalutara, Ceylon.]
What is focus and who has the right to say what focus is the legitimate focus? (1864)
[Writer and critic, lives in New York.]
It’s hard to resist the thought that a very large number of photography critics—including the most influential ones—don’t really like photographs, or the act of looking at them, at all.
George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
[Writer, b. 1903, Motihari, Bengal, India, d. 1950, London.]
In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.
William J. T. Mitchell
[Writer, theorist, and architect, b. 1944, Melbourne, Australia, lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.]
What we need is a critique of visual culture that is alert to the power of images for good and evil and that is capable of discriminating the variety and historical specificity of their uses.
[Politician and U.S. senator, b. 1921, Monroe, North Carolina, d. 2008, Raleigh, North Carolina.]
I do not know Mr. Andres Serrano, and I hope I never meet him. Because he is not an artist, he is a jerk. Let us examine exactly what this bird did to get $15,000 of the taxpayers’ money through the so-called National Endowment for the Arts. If they have no more judgment than that, it ought to be abolished and all funds returned to the taxpayer. What this Serrano fellow did, he filled a bottle with his own urine and then stuck a crucifix down there—Jesus Christ on a cross. He set it up on a table and took a picture of it. (1989)