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.) 

Martin Parr
[Photographer, b. 1952, Epson, Surrey, England, lives in Bristol and London, England.]

 I went for an interview at colleges in Manchester and Derby and I was enormously impressed by people doing these creative photography courses. I was impressed by people smoking in the darkroom—the idea of having your own darkroom and being able to smoke in it, I just thought was absolutely fantastic. 

Robert Heinecken
[Photographer, b. 1931, Denver, d. 2006, Albuquerque, New Mexico.]

 I was never in a school situation where someone said, “This is the way a photograph is supposed to look.” I was completely open to cut them up, or do anything like that. I think if I had been in touch with people earlier, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that. It would have been too bizarre. 

Eudora Welty
[Writer, b. 1909, Jackson, Mississippi, d. 2001, Jackson.]

 They taught me. The subjects taught me, and my response is what I photographed. 

Alfred Stieglitz
[Photographer and curator, b. 1864, Hoboken, New Jersey, d. 1946, New York.]

 I hate to look at the future and see myself as a dried up teacher of photography. (On being forced to earn money teaching at Columbia and the Brooklyn Museum, 1908) 

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

 Photography is the only major art in which professional training and years of experience do not confer an insuperable advantage over the untrained and inexperienced—this for many reasons, among them the large role that chance (or luck) plays in the taking of pictures, and the bias toward the spontaneous, the rough, the imperfect. 

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. 

Thomas Ruff
[Photographer, b. 1958, Zell, Germany, lives in Dusseldorf, Germany.]

 I received my training at an art academy, so what I produce is art. That’s what is artistic about my photographs. 
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