Walker Evans
[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]

 I don’t think very much about [composition] consciously, but I’m very aware of it unconsciously, instinctively. Deliberately discard it every once in a while not to be artistic. Composition is a schoolteacher’s word. Any artist composes. I prefer to compose originally, naturally rather than self-consciously. Form and composition both are terribly important. 

Lisette Model
[Photographer, b. 1906, Vienna, Austria, d. 1983, New York.]

 [The snapshooter’s] pictures have an apparent disorder and imperfection, which is exactly their appeal and their style. The picture isn’t straight. It isn’t done well. It isn’t composed. It isn’t thought out. And out of this imbalance, and out of this not knowing, and out of this real innocence toward the medium comes an enormous vitality and expression of life. 

Robert Adams
[Photographer and writer, b. 1937, Orange, New Jersey, lives in Astoria, Oregon.]

 Over and over again the photographer walks a few steps and peers, rather comically, into the camera; to the exasperation of family and friends, he inventories what seems an endless number of angles; he explains, if asked, that he is trying for effective composition, but hesitates to define it. What he means is that a photographer wants form, an unarguably right relationship of shapes, a visual stability in which all components are equally important. The photographer hopes, in brief, to discover a tension so exact that it is peace. 

Jacques-Henri Lartigue
[Photographer, b. 1894, Courbevoie, France, d. 1986, Nice, France.]

 The golden rule is “work fast.” As for framing, composition, focus—this is no time to start asking yourself questions: you just have to trust your intuition and the sharpness of your reflexes. 

Abbas (Abbas Attar)
[Photographer, b. 1944, Iran, d. 2018, Paris.]

 I am among the generation of photographers who believe a picture is sacred, that once you took take it, that’s it: you don’t crop it, you don’t touch it, you don’t fool around with it. 

Henry Wessel
[Photographer, b. 1942, Teaneck, New Jersey, lives in San Francisco.]

 In a still photograph you basically have two variables, where you stand and when you press the shutter. That’s all you have. 

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

 Geometry is fundamental, but one must not think about it. 

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

 It seems to me that while it is very important to get a striking picture of a line of smoke stacks or a row of dynamos, it is becoming more and more important to reflect that life that goes on behind these photographs. (1935) 
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