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

 Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens, and cannot possibly encompass most of the reality to which they refer, they still perform a vital function. The images say: This is what human beings are capable of doing—may volunteer to do, enthusiastically, self-righteously. Don’t forget. 

W. Eugene Smith
[Photographer, b. 1918, Wichita, Kansas, d. 1978, Tucson, Arizona.]

 ... and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future—causing them caution and remembrance and realization. 

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

 I picked up a camera because it was my choice of weapon against what I hated most about the universe: racism, intolerance, poverty. I could have just as easily picked up a knife or gun, like many of my childhood friends did… 

Jacob Riis
[Photographer and reformer, b. 1849, Denmark, d. 1914, Barre, Massachusetts.]

 When the report was submitted to the Health Board the next day, it did not make much of an impression—these things rarely do, put in mere words—until my negatives, still dripping from the dark-room, came to reinforce them. From them there was no appeal. (1918) 

Roberta McGrath
[Critic, lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.]

 “Taking” a photograph is a way of making sense of the world. It imposes and order, a unity on the world which is lacking. To take a photograph is to exercise an illusory control, a mastery which is characteristic of voyeurism. But the sexual connotations of the verb are also obvious: the slang for carnal knowledge. It implies a physical penetration of the other while the photograph is a penetration of the space of the other. 

George
[Artist, b. 1942, Devon, England, lives in London.]

 Our reason for making pictures is to change people and not to congratulate them on being how they are. 

Robert Adams
[Photographer and writer, b. 1937, Orange, New Jersey, lives in Astoria, Oregon.]

 A photographer can describe a better world only by better seeing the world as it is in front of him. 

Clarence John Laughlin
[Photographer, b. 1905, Lake Charles, Louisiana, d. 1985, New Orleans, Louisiana.]

 Let us see as steadily and completely as possible the realities of our age: the wasted lives, the scattered and misused resources (human and material), the steel magic of the misdirected machinery, the mad clockwork tragedy of it all. 
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