Carrie Mae Weems
[Artist, b. 1953, Portland, Oregon, lives in Syracuse, New York.]

 I got my first camera when I was 21—my boyfriend gave it to me for my birthday. But at that point politics was my life, and I viewed the camera as a tool for expressing my political beliefs rather than as an art medium. 

Danny Lyon
[Photographer, b. 1942, New York, lives in Ulster County, New York.]

 The sign at the entrance to my gym locker room says, “no cell phones please, cell phones are cameras.” They are not. A camera is a Nikon or a Leica or Rolleiflex, and when you strike someone with one, they know they have been hit with something substantial. 

Louis Aragon
[Artist, poet, and writer, b. 1897, Neuilly, France, d. 1982, Paris.]

 For each man there awaits... a particular image capable of annihilating the entire universe. 

Susie Bright
[Writer, feminist, and activist, b. 1958, Arlington, Virginia, lives in Santa Cruz, California.]

 Seeing lesbian photography is just the tip of my radicalized clitoris. I have modeled for, commissioned, published, and fought for these pictures, and answered threats against them. I’ve seen the feminist movement bring these pictures to life, and I’ve seen that same movement try to suppress the liberating results. 

David Goldblatt
[Photographer, b. 1930, Randfontein, South Africa, d. 2018, Johannesburg.]

 I said that the camera was not a machine-gun and that photographers shouldn’t confuse their response to the politics of the country with their role as photographers. 

Gordon Parks
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1912, Fort Scott, Kansas, d. 2006, New York.]

 I have always felt as though I needed a weapon against evil. 

Norman Mailer
[Writer, b. 1923, Long Branch, New Jersey, d. 2007, New York.]

 Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child. 

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

 What we must demand from the photographer is the ability to put such a caption beneath his picture as will rescue it from the ravages of modishness and confer upon it a revolutionary use value. 
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