August Sander
[Photographer, b. 1876, Herdorf, Germany, d. 1964, Cologne.]

 I never made a person look bad. They do that themselves. The portrait is your mirror. 

Sally Mann
[Photographer, b. 1951, Lexington, Virginia, lives in Lexington.]

 Every image is in some way a “portrait,” not in the way that it would reproduce the traits of a person, but in that it pulls and draws (this is the semantic and etymological sense of the word), in that it extracts something, an intimacy, a force. 

George Bernard Shaw
[Writer, critic, and dramatist, b. 1856, Dublin, d. 1950, Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England.]

 It is monstrous that custom should force us to display our faces ostentatiously, however worn and wrinkled and mean they may be, whilst carefully concealing all our other parts, however shapely and well preserved. 

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

 There is something appalling about photographing people. It is certainly some sort of violation; so if sensitivity is lacking, there can be something barbaric about it. 

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. 

Richard Avedon
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 2004, San Antonio, Texas.]

 A portrait isn’t a fact but an opinion—an occasion rather than a truth. 

Jan Saudek
[Photographer, b. 1935, Prague, Czechoslovakia, lives in Prague.]

 What I really do is make portraits of the soul. 

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. 
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