Henry Holmes Smith
[Artist and teacher, b. 1909, Bloomington, Illinois, d. 1986, San Rafael, California.]

 In a world of disturbing images, the general body of photography is bland, dealing complacently with nature and treating our preconceptions as insights. Strange, private worlds rarely slip past our guard... 

Alexey Brodovitch
[Graphic designer and art director, b. 1898, Ogolitchi, Russia, d. 1971, Le Thor, France.]

 When you look into your camera, if you see an image you have ever seen before, don’t click the shutter. 

Bill McKibben
[Writer, b. 1960, Palo Alto, California, lives near Lake Chanokaub, New York.]

 After a lifetime of nature shows and magazine photos, we arrive at the woods conditioned to expect splendor—surprised when the parking lot does not contain a snarl of animals attractively mating and killing each other. 

Lewis Baltz
[Photographer, b. 1945, Newport Beach, California, d. 2014, Paris.]

 If you read what, say, Weston was writing in the 1920s he talked about an industrial medium, reflective surfaces, contemporary subject matter—it’s a straighter line to [Ed] Ruscha’s 26 Gas Stations than it would ever be to Ansel Adam’s pictures of Yosemite and their kitschy calendar sensibility. 

Abigail Solomon-Godeau
[Writer and theorist, b. 1947, New York, lives in Santa Barbara, California.]

 Contemporary art photography, or, more specifically, what I would term mainstream art photography, represents for the most part the mining of an exhausted lode. 

Alfred Stieglitz
[Photographer and curator, b. 1864, Hoboken, New Jersey, d. 1946, New York.]

 When we go through an exhibition of American photographs, we are struck by the conventionality of the subjects chosen; we see the same types of country roads, of wood interiors, the everlasting waterfall, village scenes; we see the same groups at doorsteps and on piazzas; the same unfortunate attempts at illustrating popular poetry; the same etc., etc., ad infinitum. (1892) 

John Szarkowski
[Curator, critic, historian, and photographer, b. 1925, Ashland, Wisconsin, d. 2007, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.]

 What’s happening is that people are making a billion photographs a year of their cats, frequently with the cats wearing costumes. Do you think I should be doing shows of cat photography? 

Edward Weston
[Photographer, b. 1886, Highland Park, Illinois, d. 1958, Wildcat Hill, California.]

 When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision. Following rules of composition can only lead to a tedious repetition of pictorial clichés. 
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