Shomei Tomatsu
[Photographer, b. 1930, Nagoya, Japan, d. 2012, Okinawa, Japan.]

 If I could, I would want to see everything: the affairs of others, the scene of a murder, the Pygmies in the African rain forest, the super-rich of Wall Street, the face of the man who stole three hundred million yen, the Sydney Opera House, the graveyard of ships in the Sargasso Sea, the tail of an orca, the plankton of the deep ocean, the inside of Prime Minister Sato’s belly, Mao Zedong, Mars, Cape Kennedy, Antarctic blizzards, the animal whose name is “sloth,” the pudendum of Marilyn Monroe. My eyes are infamously greedy:... to me, the stuff other photographers substitute for seeing is but a kind of pessimism. 

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. 

Eddie Adams
[Photojournalist, b. 1933, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, d. 2004, New York.]

 I saw a man walk into my camera viewfinder from the left. He took a pistol out of his holster and raised it. I had no idea he would shoot. It was common to hold a pistol to the head of prisoners during questioning. So I prepared to make that picture—the threat, the interrogation. But it didn’t happen. The man just pulled a pistol out of his holster, raised it to the VC’s head and shot him in the temple. I made a picture at the same time. (On his 1968 photograph of the summary street corner execution of prisoner Nguyen Van Lem by South Vietnam's police chief, Lt. Col. Nguyen Ngoc Loan.) 

Malcolm Browne
[Journalist and photographer, b. 1931, New York, d. 2012, New Hampshire.]

 I had no point of view. I was concerned that [the photographs] be properly exposed, but since the subject was self-illuminated that wasn’t much of a problem. (On his 1963 photograph of self-immolation of South Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc.) 

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. 

John Paul Filo
[Photographer, b. 1948, Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania, lives in New York.]

 I didn’t react visually. This girl came up and knelt over the body and let out a God-awful scream that made me click the camera. (On photographing Mary Vecchio with slain student Jeffery Miller during the shootings of students at Kent State, April, 1970.) 

Shomei Tomatsu
[Photographer, b. 1930, Nagoya, Japan, d. 2012, Okinawa, Japan.]

 When I am faced with the victims of the bomb, I find myself almost praying as I release the shutter of my camera. It is as if they are the God of the fin-de-siècle, Christ of the nuclear age. 

Huỳnh Công “Nick” Ut
[Photographer, b. 1951, rural Mekong Delta, province of Long An, Vietnam, lives in Los Angeles.]

 When we moved closer to the village we saw the first people running. I thought ‘Oh my God’ when I suddenly saw a woman with her left leg badly burned by napalm. Then came a woman carrying a baby, who died, then another woman carrying a small child with its skin coming off. When I took a picture of them I heard a child screaming and saw that young girl who had pulled off all her burning clothes. She yelled to her brother on her left. Just before the napalm was dropped soldiers had yelled to the children to run but there wasn’t enough time. (On his photograph of nine-year-old Kim Phuc fleeing the village of Trang Bang, Vietnam after it was napalm bombed in 1972.) 
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