Chris Burden
[Artist, b. 1946, Boston, Massachusetts, d. 2015, Los Angeles.]

 It’s about trying to frame something. And draw attention to it and say, “Here’s the beauty in this. I’m going to put a frame around it, and I think this is beautiful.” That’s what artists do. It’s really a pointing activity. 

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

 Animal living is photographed full tide with barely a moment of lyricism, none of beauty, and tragedy only a match struck on the seat of the pants…. Actually Klein did not photograph a city; he matched with cheap sensational photography the vulgarity of life in all its ugliness. (1957, On William Klein’s book New York.) 

Friedrich Nietzsche
[Philosopher, b. 1844, Rocken, Prussia, d. 1900, Weimar, Germany.]

 To experience a thing as beautiful means: to experience it necessarily wrongly. 

Daido Moriyama
[Photographer, b. 1938, Ikeda-cho, Osaka, Japan, lives in Tokyo.]

 Until a few years ago, I was able to stave off an awareness that there is not an ounce of beauty in the world, and that humanity is a thing of extreme hideousness. So I could shoot and believe in something. (1972) 

Robert Mapplethorpe
[Photographer, b. 1946, Floral Park, Long Island, d. 1989, Boston, Massachusetts.]

 I did a picture of a guy with his finger up his cock. I think that for what it is, it’s a perfect picture, because the hand gestures are beautiful. I know most people couldn’t see the hand gestures, but compositionally I think it works. I think the hand gesture is beautiful. 

John Baldessari
[Artist, b. 1931, National City, California, lives in Venice, California.]

 Probably I was never going to get out of National City, so I was going to show people what it’s like, to make art out of where I lived without glamorizing it, and with the idea that truth is beautiful, no matter how ugly it is. I drove around in the car shooting my pictures from the window, because I didn’t want to make the place more beautiful by setting my camera up with a tripod, getting the right light, and just the right composition. I wanted it just the way it is. 

Andres Serrano
[Artist, b. 1950, New York, lives in New York.]

 There’s nothing wrong with provocative art work: I even look forward to the day when I can take pictures which will disturb even me. 

Italo Calvino
[Writer, b. 1923, Santiago de la Vegas, Cuba, d. 1985, Siena, Italy.]

 The line between the reality that is photographed because it seems beautiful to us and the reality that seems beautiful because it has been photographed is very narrow. 
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