Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay)
[Boxer, b. 1942, Louisville, Kentucky, d. Scottsdale, Arizona.]

 Emmett Till and I were about the same age. A week after he was murdered... I stood on a corner with a gang of boys, looking at pictures of him in the black newspapers and magazines. In one, he was laughing and happy. In the other, his head was swollen and bashed in, his eyes bulging out of their sockets, and his mouth twisted and broken... I couldn’t get Emmett Till out of my mind, until one evening I thought of a way to get back at white people for his death. 

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) 

Ron Haeberle
[Photographer, b. 1941, Cleveland, Ohio, lives in Cleveland.]

 I happened upon a group of GIs surrounding these people and one of the American GIs yelled out, “Hey he’s got a camera.” So they kind of all dispersed just a little bit, and I came upon them and looking at the photograph I noticed the one girl was kind of frantic and an older woman trying to protect this small child and the older woman in front was just, you know, kind of pleading, trying to, beg, you know, begging and that and another person, a woman was buttoning her blouse and holding a small baby. Okay, I took the photograph, I thought they were just going to question the people, but just as soon as I turned and walked away, I heard firing, I looked around and over the corner of my shoulder I saw the people drop. I just kept on walking. (On photographing the My Lai massacre, Vietnam, March, 1968.) 

Joe Rosenthal
[Photographer, b. 1911, Washington, D.C., d. 2006, Novato, California.]

 Had I posed that shot, I would, of course, have ruined it. I’d have picked fewer men... I would also have made them turn their heads so that they could be identified for AP members throughout the country and nothing like the existing picture would have resulted. (On his photograph of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.) 

Fidel Castro
[Dictator, b. 1926, Mayari, Cuba, lives in Havana.]

 We are very sorry that we didn’t have a photographer with us during the revolutionary war or during the first years of struggle, while we were underground, or during the advance to Moncada. We should have taken some photographs but we didn’t think about it... We would have loved it if only an amateur had photographed us. Even Che, who was an amateur photographer and liked to try almost everything, didn’t have a camera with him at the time... Now, after almost thirty years, you feel sadness and regret for not carrying a camera with which you could have taken the pictures that would now speak for themselves. On those occasions, as on so many others, it is only after time passes that people realize that they have been through historical moments that will never be repeated, and that the memory fades. 

Sabrina Harman
[U.S. military guard at Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq, b. 1978, Lorton, Virginia, lives in Virginia.]

 On June 23 I saw my first dead body I took pictures! The other day I heard my first grenade go off. Fun! (To her father, June 23, 2003, written from Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq) 

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. 

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.) 
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