James Nachtwey
[Photographer, b. 1948, Syracuse, New York, lives in New York.]

 The flow of reality has contours and dimensions much like the flow of a river. The characteristics of the current depend on the channel, whether it is a product of history or geology. Documentary photography has similar properties. The images I create are a confluence of what is in front of me and what is inside of me. They are objective and subjective at the same time, and they must be seen that way by the viewer in order to be convincing. 

Laurie Simmons
[Photographer, b. 1949, Long Island, New York, lives in New York.]

 People are much more willing nowadays to believe that pictures lie than [that] they can express any kind of truth. 

Imogen Cunningham
[Photographer, b. 1883, Portland, d. 1976, San Francisco.]

 You know, a documentary is only interesting once in a while. If you look at a whole book of Dorothea [Lange]’s where she has row after row of people bending over and digging out carrots—that can be very tedious. And so it’s only once in a while that something happens that is worth doing. 

Robert Frank
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1924, Zürich, Switzerland, lives in Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, and New York.]

 The truth is somewhere between the documentary and the fictional, and that is what I try to show. What is real one moment has become imaginary the next. You believe what you see now, and the next second you don’t anymore. 

Arthur Tress
[Photographer, b. 1940, Brooklyn, New York, lives in Cambria, California.]

 In my old age I no longer see the difference between documentary and staged. (2012, age 71) 

Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 A photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask. 

John Tagg
[Writer, theorist, and photohistorian, North Shields, England, lives in Ithica, New York.]

 [“Documentary” photography’s] unlikely and paradoxical mixture of social and psychological “truths,” exotic voyeurism, fetishised artistic subjectivity, and formalist claims to universality, which may once have appeared mutually enhancing, was contradictory and inherently unstable. 

Jeff Wall
[Photographer, b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada, lives in Vancouver.]

 In some way [my photographs] claim to be a plausible account of, or a report on, what the events depicted are like, or were like, when they passed without being photographed. (On his “near documentary” images.) 
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