Robbert Flick
[Photographer, b. 1939, Amersfoort, Holland, lives in Los Angeles, California.]

 Serendipity plays an enormous role in my work. I create the possibilities for accidents to happen. 

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. 

Sally Mann
[Photographer, b. 1951, Lexington, Virginia, lives in Lexington.]

 Like all photographers, I depend on serendipity, and when you’re photographing children there’s often an abundance of it. I would have an idea of what a photograph would look like and then something would happen—a dog might lumber in and become a critical element. I pray for what might be referred to as the angel of chance. 

Roger Ballen
[Photographer, b. 1950, New York, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.]

 A lot of photography is about the unexpected happening during the time that you do the work. So it’s not something that you can really predict. 

Henry Holmes Smith
[Artist and teacher, b. 1909, Bloomington, Illinois, d. 1986, San Rafael, California.]

 I think control is the wrong word. I would put it this way. You see a lovely girl across a crowded room and you walk toward her with hope in your mind. That’s the way [my] pictures are made. 

Joe Rosenthal
[Photographer, b. 1911, Washington, D.C., d. 2006, Novato, California.]

 I swung my camera around and held it until I could guess that this was the peak of the action, and shot. I couldn’t positively say I had the picture. It’s something like shooting a football play; you don’t brag until it’s developed. (On his photograph of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.) 

Larry Sultan
[Photographer, b. 1946, Brooklyn, New York, d. 2009, Greenbrae, California.]

 I always thought of a great photograph as if some creature walked into my room; it’s like, how did you get here? What are you made of? And no matter how many pictures I make, I have never depleted that quality of mystery. 

Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 Photography is the only major art in which professional training and years of experience do not confer an insuperable advantage over the untrained and inexperienced—this for many reasons, among them the large role that chance (or luck) plays in the taking of pictures, and the bias toward the spontaneous, the rough, the imperfect. 
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