Idris Khan
[Artist, b. 1978, Birmingham, England, lives in London.]

 Recently, I can’t seem to take a straight photograph without thinking that what I am photographing won’t be the final image—like the world in front of me is not good enough or something. 

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. 

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

 I’m not after beauty, I’m after perfection, and they’re not always the same. 

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

 I don’t know what good composition is... Sometimes for me composition has to do with a certain brightness or a certain coming to restness and other times it has to do with funny mistakes. There’s a kind of rightness and wrongness and sometimes I like rightness and sometimes I like wrongness. 

Paul Theroux
[Writer, b. 1941, Medford, Massachusetts, lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Haleiwa, Hawaii.]

 Tonight, I knew despair. Photography wasn’t an art, it was a craft, like making baskets. Error, the essential wrinkle in the fiber of art, was inexcusable in a craft. 

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 Frank
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1924, Zürich, Switzerland, lives in Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, and New York.]

 I prefer to work on the edge, not the middle of the road. I am looking for chaos. 

Garry Winogrand
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, d. 1984, Tijuana, Mexico.]

 You know why your pictures are no fucking good? Because they don’t describe the chaos of life. (Quoted by Philip-Lorca DiCorcia) 
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