Minor White
[Photographer, writer, and theorist, b. 1908, Minneapolis, Minnesota, d. 1976, Cambridge, Massachusetts.]

 The spring-tight line between reality and photography has been stretched relentlessly, but it has not been broken. These abstractions... have not left the world of appearances; for to do so is to break the camera’s strongest point—its authenticity. 

Paul Strand
[Photographer, b. 1890, New York, d. 1976, Oregeval, France.]

 All good art is abstract in its structure. 

Harry Callahan
[Photographer, b. 1912, Detroit, Michigan, d. 1999, Atlanta, Georgia.]

 Everything was Bauhaus this and Bauhaus that. I wanted to break it... I got tired of experimentation. I got sick of the solarization and reticulation and walked-on negatives. What I was interested in was the technique of seeing... I introduced problems like “evidence of man,” and talking to people—making portraits on the street... I thought [the students] should enter into dealings with human beings and leave abstract photography. I felt that social photography would be the next concern. 

Annette Messager
[Artist, b. 1943, Berck-sur-Mer, France, lives in Paris.]

 I never take a picture of a face because a face is somebody, an arm is not recognizable as somebody. When you take a photograph of someone’s face, it identifies it as somebody, but if you take just a fragment, it’s everybody. It’s not one person. 

Neil Postman
[Writer and media critic, b. 1931, New York, d. 2003, Queens, New York.]

 By itself photography cannot deal with the unseen, the remote, the internal, the abstract, it does not speak of “Man,” only of “a man”; not of “Tree,” only “a tree.” 

Tristan Tzara (Sami Rosenstock)
[Writer and artist, b. 1896, Moineti, Bacu, Romania, d. 1963, Paris.]

 Is it a spiral of water in the tragic gleam of a revolver, an egg, a glistening arc or the floodgate of reason, a keen ear attuned to a mineral hiss, or a turbine of algebraic formulas? (On Man Ray’s first photograms, 1921.) 

Edward Weston
[Photographer, b. 1886, Highland Park, Illinois, d. 1958, Wildcat Hill, California.]

 I shall let no chance pass to record interesting abstractions, but I feel definite in my belief that the approach to photography is through realism—and its most difficult approach. (1924) 

Barbara Kasten
[Photographer, b. 1936, Chicago, Illinois, lives in Chicago.]

 The question is: Can I make a photograph that is truly abstract, or must photographs always be representational as reality is there at their core?  
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