Georgia O'Keeffe
[Artist, b. 1887, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, d. 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico.]

 If they had known what a close relationship he would have needed to photograph [them] the way he photographed me—I think they wouldn’t have been interested. (On men who wanted Alfred Stieglitz to photograph their wives or girlfriends, 1922.) 

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 I remember a long time ago when I first began to photograph I thought, there are an awful lot of people in the world and it’s going to be terribly hard to photograph all of them, so if I photograph some kind of generalized human being, everybody’ll recognize it. It’ll be like what they used to call the common man or something. It was my teacher, Lisette Model, who finally made it clear to me that the more specific you are, the more general it’ll be. 

Robert Mapplethorpe
[Photographer, b. 1946, Floral Park, Long Island, d. 1989, Boston, Massachusetts.]

 When I’ve exhibited pictures... I’ve tried to juxtapose a flower, then a picture of a cock, then a portrait, so you could see they were the same. 

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 I’ve got incredible power in my closet. Not power to do harm—just the feeling that I’ve captured people who have since died and people who will never look that way again. The camera is cruel, so I try to be as good as I can to make things even. 

Robert Rauschenberg
[Artist, b. 1925, Port Arthur, Texas, d. 2008, Captiva Island, Florida.]

 If I declare it to be so, then this is a portrait. 

James Agee
[Writer, b. 1909, Knoxville, Tennessee, d. 1955, New York.]

 Walker [Evans] setting up the terrible structure of the tripod crested by the black square heavy head, dangerous as that of a hunchback, of the camera; stooping beneath cloak and cloud of wicked cloth, and twisting buttons; a witchcraft preparing, colder than keenest ice, and incalculably cruel. (On Walker Evans photographing three tenant farmer families in Hale County, Alabama, 1936) 

Thomas Ruff
[Photographer, b. 1958, Zell, Germany, lives in Dusseldorf, Germany.]

 The people have to know what my portraits are like in order to behave in such a way that the result is one of my portraits. 

Vincent Van Gogh
[Artist, b. 1853, Zundert, Netherlands, d. 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise, France.]

 I always think photographs abominable, and I don’t like to have them around, particularly not those of persons I know and love... photographic portraits wither much sooner than we ourselves do, whereas the painted portrait is a thing which is felt, done with love or respect for the human being that is portrayed. 
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