Arnold Genthe
[Photographer, b. 1869, Berlin, Germany, d. 1942, New York.]

 ...I went back to my studio to get a camera. The one thought uppermost in my mind was not to bring some of my possessions to a place of safety but to make photographs of the scenes I had been witnessing, the effects of the earthquake and the beginning of the conflagration that had started in various parts of the city. I found that my hand cameras had been so damaged by the falling plaster as to be rendered useless. I went to Montgomery Street to the shop of George Kahn, my dealer, and asked him to lend me a camera. “Take anything you want. This place is going to burn up anyway.” (On photographing the San Francisco earthquake of 1906) 

Dorothea Lange
[Photographer, b. 1895, Hoboken, New Jersey, d. 1965, San Francisco.]

 I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history... 

Bert Hardy
[Photographer, b. 1913, London, d. 1995, Oxted, England.]

 Although I do not usually like taking pictures of corpses, I controlled my feelings of rage for long enough to take some; without such evidence, no one would believe that anything like this had ever happened. (On photographing the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, April 19, 1945) 

Graham Nash
[Musician, photographer, and collector, b. 1942, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, lives in Encino, California.]

 What I shoot are moments that disappear in the blink of an eye if you don’t have the courage or the discipline to have your camera with you. I can’t tell you how many fucking times I missed Elvis coming back on the elevator... and it pisses me off! I still try to carry my camera every single moment. 

Robert Capa (Endre Ernő Friedmann)
[Photographer, b. 1913, Budapest, Hungary, d. 1954, Thai Binh, Vietnam.]

 The [concentration camps] were swarming with photographers and every new picture of horror served only to diminish the total effect. Now, for a short day, everyone will see what happened to those poor devils in those camps; tomorrow, very few will care what happens to them in the future. 

Donald McCullin
[Photographer, b. 1935, Finsbury Park, London, lives in Somerset, England.]

 It wasn’t my fault if in Sabra and Shatila the light was almost biblical, if what happened in front of my eyes was like a scene out of Goya. 

Carl Mydans
[Photographer, b. 1907, Boston, Massachusetts, d. 2004, New York.]

 I followed [the boys] to the stakes as the as the cries from the crowds rose higher and higher. The boy’s hands were shaking. And I saw that mine were also. What, among men, is more frightening than the cry for death which rises from the crowd? ... I tried to hold my camera steady as I stepped up to each of them, one by one. I was not in good control. But each in his turn surprised me: for as each saw the camera coming in toward him, his body straightened and he threw back his shoulders and a look of courage came into his face. Inexplicably, that last picture gave strength to the condemned men. 

George Rodger
[Photojournalist, b. 1908, Hale, Cheshire, England, d. 1995, Smarden, Kent, England.]

 When I discovered that I could look at the horror of Belsen—4,000 dead and starving lying around—and think only of a nice photographic composition, I knew something had happened to me and it had to stop. 
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