Peter Henry Emerson
[Writer and photographer, b. 1856, LaPalma, Cuba, d. 1936, Falmouth, Cornwall, England.]

 I have, I regret it deeply, compared photographs to great works of art and photographers to great artists. I was rash and thoughtless and my punishment is having to acknowledge it now… (1891, in a recantation of his earlier advocacy of photography.) 

Marius de Zayas
[Artist, b. 1880, Veracruz, Mexico, d. 1961, Greenwich, Connecticut.]

 Photography is beginning to be photography, for until now it has only been art. (1923) 

Elizabeth McCausland
[Writer and critic, b. 1899, Wichita, Kansas, d. 1965, New York.]

 Today progressive photographers are not especially interested in the point [Is photography Art?]; it seems an empty issue. There is the whole wide world before the lens, and reality waiting to be set down imperishably. (1939) 

Harry Callahan
[Photographer, b. 1912, Detroit, Michigan, d. 1999, Atlanta, Georgia.]

 To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there is no guarantee that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters. 

Stephen Shore
[Photographer, b. 1947, New York, lives in New York.]

 I wanted to make pictures that felt natural, that felt like seeing, that didn’t feel like taking something in the world and making a piece of art out of it. 

Edward Steichen
[Photographer and curator, b. 1879, Luxembourg, Germany, d. 1973, West Redding, Connecticut.]

 I don’t care about making photography an art. I want to make good photographs. I’d like to know who first got it into his head that dreaminess and mist is an art. Take things as they are; take good photographs and the art will take care of itself. (1923) 

Lord Snowdon (Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones)
[Earl and photographer, b. 1930, London, England, d. 2017, London.]

 I think it’s all absolute nonsense how people talk about photography as being an art. It’s a very menial career that you do if you draw badly. Now they teach it at the Royal College of Art and get grand about it. It’s the only course there that I don’t understand. 

Tom Wolfe
[Writer, b. 1930, Richmond, Virginia, d. 2018, New York.]

 It was the unspoken curse of the medium, which went: “Photography is not really creative.” Naturally no painter would be so gauche as to say publicly that photography was not an art form. Nevertheless, there was an unuttered axiom: “Painters create, photographers select.” Not all the enlightened lip service in the world could change that feeling. The condescension with which the most insignificant painter could look down upon an Ansel Adams, a Steichen, or a Stieglitz was absolutely breathtaking. If sneers gave off heat, Alfred Stieglitz himself would have ended up about the size and shape of a smoked oyster. 
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