David Maisel
[Photographer, b. 1961, New York, lives in San Francisco.]

 …pictures aren’t facts. There’s nothing factual about them. They’re mental space. That’s what abstraction is about, making a kind of psychological space. 

Mel Bochner
[Artist, b. 1940, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, lives in New York.]

 Photography Cannot Record Abstract Ideas (Title of a 16x20 inch photograph depicting an index card on which that phrase is handwritten.) 

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. 

William Eggleston
[Photographer, b. 1939, Memphis, Tennessee, lives in Memphis.]

 I’ve always assumed that the abstract qualities of [my] photographs are obvious. For instance, I can turn them upside down and they’re still interesting to me as pictures. If you turn a picture that’s not well organized upside down, it won’t work. 

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

 I am asking the question “can a photograph be an abstraction?” simply because it seemed almost impossible. A camera has to have something to record... Can I make a photograph that is based in something that is not tangible? 

Uta Barth
[Photographer, b. 1958, Berlin, lives in Los Angeles.]

 Everything is pointing to one’s own activity of looking, to an awareness and sort of hyper-consciousness of visual perception. The only way I know how to invite this experience is by removing the other things (i.e., subject matter) for you to think about. 

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.) 

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.” 
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