[Writer, b. 1902, Joplin, Missouri, d. 1967, New York.]
Anyday, one can walk down the street in a big city and see a thousand people. Any photographer can photograph these people—but very few photographers can make their prints not only reproductions of the people taken, but a comment upon them—or more, a comment upon their lives—or more still, a comment upon the social order that creates these lives.
[Curator, critic, historian, and photographer, b. 1925, Ashland, Wisconsin, d. 2007, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.]
The basic effect of modern mass media on photography has been to erode the creative independence and the accountability of the photographer who has worked for them. (1967)
[Photographer, b. 1949, Los Angeles, lives in San Francisco.]
The very act of representation has been so thoroughly challenged in recent years by postmodern theories that it is impossible not to see the flaws everywhere, in any practice of photography. Traditional genres in particular—journalism, documentary studies, and fine-art photography—have become shells, or forms emptied of meaning.
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, d. 1984, Tijuana, Mexico.]
You know, you’ve heard photographers talk about how they want to know the place better and so on—they’re really talking about their own comfort. Let me put it this way—I have never seen a photograph from which I could tell how long the photographer was there, how well he knew it.
[Photographer, b. 1935, Finsbury Park, London, lives in Somerset, England.]
You cannot walk on the water of hunger, misery, and death. You have to wade through to record them.
[Photographer, b. 1952, San Francisco, lives in Brooklyn, New York.]
Running through a lot of traditional photojournalism there is an overwhelming sense of... pictures that say something, that define something. I’m not trying to define things. I’m trying to explore things. I’m trying to ask questions.
[Photographer, b. 1944, Dorchester, Massachusetts, lives in New York.]
Photojournalist? With a few exceptions, those of us working as photojournalists might now more appropriately call ourselves illustrators. For, unlike real reporters, whose job it is to document what’s going down, most of us go out in the world expecting to give form to the magazine, or to newspaper editor’s ideas, using what’s become over the years a pretty standardized visual language. So we search for what is instantly recognizable, supportive of the text, easiest to digest, or most marketable—more mundane realities be damned.
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.