Henri Cartier-Bresson
[Photographer and painter, b. 1908, Chanteloup, France, d. 2004, Paris.]

 I’m not responsible for my photographs. Photography is not documentary, but intuition, a poetic experience. It’s drowning yourself, dissolving yourself and then sniff, sniff, sniff—being sensitive to coincidence. You can’t go looking for it; you can’t want it, or you won’t get it. First you must lose your self. Then it happens. 

Clarence John Laughlin
[Photographer, b. 1905, Lake Charles, Louisiana, d. 1985, New Orleans, Louisiana.]

 Let us see as steadily and completely as possible the realities of our age: the wasted lives, the scattered and misused resources (human and material), the steel magic of the misdirected machinery, the mad clockwork tragedy of it all. 

Allan Sekula
[Photographer, writer, and theorist, b. 1951, Erie, Pennsylvania, d. 2013, Los Angeles.]

 Documentary is thought to be art when it transcends its reference to the world, when the work can be regarded, first and foremost, as an act of self-expression on the part of the artist. 

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. 

Margaret Bourke-White
[Photographer, b. 1904, New York, d. 1971, Darien, Connecticut.]

 The sights I have just seen [at Buchenwald] are so unbelievable that I don’t think I’ll believe them myself until I’ve seen the photographs... 

Henri Cartier-Bresson
[Photographer and painter, b. 1908, Chanteloup, France, d. 2004, Paris.]

 The adventurer in me felt obliged to testify with a quicker instrument than a brush to the scars of the world. 

Jay Maisel
[Photographer, b. 1931, Brooklyn, New York, lives in New York.]

 I take pictures, and they are there for the taking. I’ll tell you a quote that I have always thought about. Arthur Miller said, “I try to create the poem from the evidence.” 

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. 
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