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. 

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?  

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.” 

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. 

Andreas Gursky
[Photographer, b. 1955, Leipzig, Germany, lives in Dusseldorf.]

 In retrospect I can see that my desire to create abstractions has become more and more radical. Art should not be delivering a report on reality, but should be looking at what’s behind something. 

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.) 

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? 

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. 
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