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. 

Berenice Abbott
[Photographer, writer, teacher, b. 1898, Springfield, Ohio, d. 1991, Monson, Maine.]

 There are many teachers who could ruin you. Before you know it you could be a pale copy of this teacher or that teacher. You have to evolve on your own. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Larry Sultan
[Photographer, b. 1946, Brooklyn, New York, d. 2009, Greenbrae, California.]

 ...when it comes down to making work that really sings, I don’t know if I can teach any of it. I don’t even know if I can do any of it half the time. It’s so much about failure, it’s so much about making pictures that are so utterly boring and overstated, you’re endlessly disappointed. And in that process you hopefully find something that draws you back and calls to you. 

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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