Walker Evans
[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]

 Nobody knows what art is, and it can’t be taught. It’s the mind and the talent of the eye of the individual who is operating the machine that produces what comes out of it. 

Victor Burgin
[Artist and writer, b. 1941, Sheffield, England, lives in London.]

 At the end of the second year I’d have students come into my office and they’d say, “Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t like the theory classes. I find them really interesting, but I can’t take a picture any more. Every time I raise the camera to my eye I think, is this politically OK? Is this... etc., etc.” The advice I always gave them was: Shoot first, ask questions later. 

Edmund Hillary
[Mountaineer, b. 1919, Tuakau, New Zealand, d. 2008, Auckland, New Zealand.]

 As far as I knew, he [Tenzing Norgay] had never taken a photograph before—and the summit of Everest was hardly the place to show him how. (On why there is a photo of Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Mount Everest during the first successful climb, but not one of Hillary.) 

Max Pam
[Photographer, b. 1949, Melbourne, Australia, lives in Perth, Australia.]

 [My photography teacher] gave me the Mexican Day Books of Edward Weston and just blew me away with this work. The fact that you could be this fabulous visual artist, with all this milieu of people like Diego Rivera and you could sleep with these gorgeous, amazing women, that you could live that life—that photography could deliver you that life. 

Sophie Calle
[Artist, b. 1953, Paris, lives in Paris and New York.]

 I met a photographer who agreed to give me a few lessons; in exchange, I had to pose naked for him. 

Bill Jay
[Photographer, writer, and curator, b. 1940, Maidenhead, England, d. 2009, Samara, Costa Rica.]

 Formal education [in photography] has a lot to answer for. We have legitimized, sanitized, academized the medium until we are left with issues not substance, critical stances not action. We have encouraged the mimicking of already dead images, like 19th century painters who spent years copying Greek statuary. 

Douglas McCulloh
[Photographer, b. 1959, Los Angeles, lives in Los Angeles.]

 To teach consequential photography, don’t bother with Photoshop or f-stops. Create a craving for images. 

Samuel Butler
[Writer, b. 1835, Langar Rectory, Nottinghamshire, England, d. 1902, London.]

 All our education is very much a case of retouching negatives till all the character and individuality is gone. 
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