William Klein
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, lives in Paris.]

 So who can pin down photography? We’re drunk with images. [Sontag’s] sick of it. I’m sick of it. But we’re moved by old amateur photographs because they aren’t concerned about theories of photography or what a picture must be. They’re just photographs without rules or dogma. 

Clement Greenberg
[Critic, b. 1909, New York, d. 1994, New York.]

 [Edward Weston’s] camera defines everything, but it defines everything in the same way—and excess of detailed definition ends by making everything look as though it were made of the same substance, no matter how varied the surfaces. (1946) 

Ingrid Sischy
[Editor and writer, b. 1952, Johannesburg, South Africa, d. 2015, New York.]

 The blatantly mechanistic condition bound to photographic seeing has confounded photographic discourse. One-way thinking has stratified this moonlighting medium ever since its invention, zoning it into polemic ghettos walled off by hegemonies and hierarchies. 

Camille Paglia
[Writer, b. 1947, Endicott, New York, lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

 The visual is sorely undervalued in modern scholarship. Art history has attained only a fraction of the conceptual sophistication of literary criticism. Drunk with self-love, criticism has hugely overestimated the centrality of language to western culture. It has failed to see the electrifying sign language of images. 

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

 “The illiterate of the future,” it has been said, “will not be the man who cannot read the alphabet, but the one who cannot take a photograph.” But must we not also count as illiterate the photographer who cannot read his own pictures? 

Arnold Newman
[Photographer, b. 1918, New York, d. 2006, New York.]

 ...Susan Sontag wrote her book On Photography—you’ll find no real photographer has ever said it was a good book. Writers wrote about her book and praised her, knowing nothing about photography... Susan Sontag, almost like it was her own original ideas and thoughts, began to say these things, inferring perhaps that photographers didn’t have the intellect to understand what they were doing. And I get angry, because all my life I’ve been discussing the same kind of questions that she had in this short chapter. I could show you where I wrote notes in the margins—the book is black with notes—“this is full of shit, this is not original, we discussed this years ago.” 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo
[Photographer, b. 1902, Mexico City, d. 2002, Mexico City.]

 The word “art” is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one’s work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics. 

Rudyard Kipling
[Writer, b. 1865, Bombay, India, d. 1936, London.]

 There aren’t twelve hundred people in the world who understand pictures. The others pretend and don’t care. 
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