Nhem En
[Photographer, b. 1961, Kampong Leng, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia, lives in Cambodia.]

 My only job was to photograph them, and it was someone else who tortured and killed these people. As a photographer, I had no right to beat, torture, or kill prisoners. I could not touch them. (En, official photographer at Khmer Rouge torture center Tuol Sleng, estimates he took photographs of 10,000 people arriving at the center. Eight survived.) 

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.) 

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

 In printing the photographs of the white-gowned Klan members I ran into considerable difficulty. There were several with uncovered faces and these faces were vividly dark in comparison to the white-white of the gowns that it was almost impossible to keep them from appearing black. I am terribly sorry. (Apology to his editor about images from his 1951 photo essay on the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.)  

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. 

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) 

Hunter Thompson
[Writer, b. 1937, Louisville, Kentucky, d. 2005, Woody Creek, Colorado.]

 These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport. (On photographs of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq) 

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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