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

 I have found tangible evidence that within this life’s sweet tedium reside certain truths: that nothing attains maximum beauty until touched with decay, that the vulgar and miraculous can be one. 

Phil Stern
[Photographer, b. 1919, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, d. 2014, Los Angeles.]

 There is no such thing as the perfect picture. That’s the challenge of photography. I was always striving for perfection, even though I knew I could never achieve it. But it kept me reaching for something... 

Boris Mikhailov
[Photographer, b. 1938, Kharkov, Ukraine, lives in Kharkov and Berlin.]

 I was always against good technique because it didn’t work with Soviet life. Good quality equals foreign life. 

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

 [My] photos are often out of focus, rough, streaky, warped, etc. But if you think about it, a normal human being will in one day perceive an infinite number of images, and some of them are focused upon, others are barely seen out of the corner of one’s eye. 

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 Recently I did a picture—I’ve had this experience before—and I made rough prints of a number of them. There was something wrong in all of them. I felt I’d sort of missed it and I figured I’d go back. But there was one that was just totally peculiar. It was a terrible dodo of a picture. It looks to me a little as if the lady’s husband took it. It’s terribly head-on and sort of ugly and there’s something terrific about it. I’ve gotten to like it better and better and now I’m secretly sort of nutty about it. 

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

 Perfection means you don’t question anything about the photograph. 

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

 I’m so worried that I’m going to perfect [my] technique someday. I have to say its unfortunate how many of my pictures do depend upon some technical error. 

Barbara Ess
[Photographer, b. 1948, Brooklyn, New York, lives in New York.]

 My camera distorts and I like that—I like distortion in music too because it loosens things up. (On her pinhole camera) 
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