Philip Larkin
[Poet and writer, b. 1922, Coventry, England, d. 1985, London.]

 It was your severed image that grew sweeter,
That floated, wing-stiff, focused in the sun
Along uncertainty and gales of shame
Blown out before I slept. Now you are one
I dare not think alive: only a name
That chimes occasionally, as a belief
Long since embedded in the static past. 

Walter Benjamin
[Philosopher, critic, and theorist, b. 1892, Berlin, d. 1940, Port Bou, France.]

 It is no accident that the portrait was the focal point of early photography. The cult of remembrance of loved ones, absent or dead, offers a last refuge for the cult value of the picture. For the last time the aura emanates from the early photographs in the fleeting expression of a human face. This is what constitutes their melancholy, incomparable beauty. 

Francis Bacon
[Artist, b. 1909, Dublin, Ireland, d. 1992, Madrid, Spain.]

 Jesus would have been one of the best photographers that ever existed. He was always looking at the beauty of people’s souls. 

Yousuf Karsh
[Photographer, b. 1908, Mardin, Armenia, d. 2002, Boston, Massachusetts.]

 I try to photograph people’s spirits and thoughts. As to the soul-taking by the photographer, I don’t feel I take away, but rather that the sitter and I give to each other. It becomes an act of mutual participation. 

Edward Curtis
[Photographer and ethnographer, b. 1868, Whitewater, Wisconsin, d. 1952, Los Angeles.]

 The thought which this picture is meant to convey is that Indians as a race, already shorn of their tribal strength and stripped of their primitive dress, are passing into the darkness of an unknown future. Feeling that the picture expresses so much of the thought that inspired the entire work, the author has chosen it as the first of the series. (Photo caption) 

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

 I was determined to show people a new kind of photography: there would be no stilted poses; as a matter of fact, no poses at all. I would try to take my sitters unawares, at a moment when they would not realize that the camera was ready. I would show them prints in which a uniform sharpness would be avoided and emphasis laid on portraying a person’s character instead of making a commonplace record of clothes and a photographic mask. 

Albert Renger-Patzsch
[Artist, b. 1897, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany, d. 1966, Wamel Dorf, Über Soest, West Germany.]

 I’d like to briefly state the accomplishment that we expect from a photographer. He must make the person being photographed forget that he has eaten from the tree of knowledge. 

Margaret Atwood
[Writer, b. 1939, Ottawa, Canada, lives in Toronto.]

 (The photograph was taken the day after I drowned. I am in the lake, in the center of the picture, just under the surface. It is difficult to say where precisely, or to say how large or how small I am: the effect of water on light is a distortion. but if you look long enough eventually you will see me.) 
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