Larry Clark
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1943, Tulsa, Oklahoma, lives in New York.]

 I always wished I could be a painter or a filmmaker, anything but a fucking photographer. I certainly didn’t want to be in a photography gallery. 

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. 

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

 [Photography] is the most successful vehicle of modernist taste in its pop version, with its zeal for debunking the high culture of the past (focusing on shards, junk, odd stuff; excluding nothing); its conscientious courting of vulgarity; its affection for kitsch; its skill in reconciling avant-garde ambitions with the rewards of commercialism; its pseudo-radical patronizing of art as reactionary, elitist, snobbish, insincere, artificial, out of touch with the broad truths of everyday life; its transformation of art into cultural document. 

Charles Baudelaire
[Writer, b. 1821, Paris, d. 1867, Paris.]

 In the domain of painting and statuary, the present-day credo of the worldly wise, especially in France, is this: ... “I believe that art is, and can only be, the exact reproduction of nature...” An avenging God has heard the prayers of this multitude; Daguerre was his messiah. 

William Eggleston
[Photographer, b. 1939, Memphis, Tennessee, lives in Memphis.]

 A picture is what it is and I’ve never noticed that it helps to talk about them, or answer specific questions about them, much less volunteer information in words. It wouldn’t make any sense to explain them. Kind of diminishes them. People always want to know when something was taken, where it was taken, and, God knows, why it was taken. It gets really ridiculous. I mean, they’re right there, whatever they are. 

James Agee
[Writer, b. 1909, Knoxville, Tennessee, d. 1955, New York.]

 Walker [Evans] setting up the terrible structure of the tripod crested by the black square heavy head, dangerous as that of a hunchback, of the camera; stooping beneath cloak and cloud of wicked cloth, and twisting buttons; a witchcraft preparing, colder than keenest ice, and incalculably cruel. (On Walker Evans photographing three tenant farmer families in Hale County, Alabama, 1936) 

Jacob Riis
[Photographer and reformer, b. 1849, Denmark, d. 1914, Barre, Massachusetts.]

 I do not want [photography] explained to me in terms of... formulas, learned, but so hopelessly unsatisfying. I do not want my butterfly stuck on a pin and put in a glass case. I want to see the sunlight on its wings as it flits from flower to flower and I don’t care a rap what its Latin name may be. 

Philip Jones Griffiths
[Photojournalist, b. 1936, Rhuddian, Wales, d. 2008, London.]

 Real photography is a wonderfully inclusive, democratic medium, whereas “art photography” is more often a private pursuit by conmen. 
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