Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon)
[Photographer, b. 1820, Paris, d. 1910, Paris.]

 According to Balzac’s theory, all physical bodies are made up entirely of layers of ghostlike images, an infinite number of leaflike skins laid on top of one another. Since Balzac believed man was incapable of making something material from an apparition—that is, creating something from nothing—he concluded that every time someone had his photograph taken, one of the spectral layers was removed from the body and transferred to the photograph. Repeated exposures entailed the unavoidable loss of subsequent ghostly layers, that is, the very essence of life. 

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

 Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.
 

Yousuf Karsh
[Photographer, b. 1908, Mardin, Armenia, d. 2002, Boston, Massachusetts.]

 I try to photograph people’s spirits and thoughts. As to the soul-taking by the photographer, I don’t feel I take away, but rather that the sitter and I give to each other. It becomes an act of mutual participation. 

Douglas Crimp
[Writer, theorist and critic, b. 1944, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, lives in Rochester, New York.]

 Through reproductive technology, postmodernist art dispenses with the aura. The fiction of the creating subject gives way to a frank confiscation, quotation, excerptation, accumulation, and repetition of already existing images. Notions of originality, authenticity, and presence... are undermined. 

Dieter Appelt
[Photographer and artist, b. 1935, Niemegk, Germany, lives in Berlin.]

 A snapshot steals life that it cannot return. A long exposure gives a form that never existed. 

Robert Morris
[Artist and theorist, b. 1931, Kansas City, Missouri, lives in New York.]

 There is probably no defense against the malevolent powers of the photograph to convert every visible aspect of the world into a static, consumable image. 

Barbara Kruger
[Artist, b. 1945, Newark, New Jersey, lives in New York.]

 I worked with someone else’s photos; I cropped them in whatever way I wanted and put words on top of them. I knew how to do it with my eyes closed. Why couldn’t that be my art? 

Jim Jarmusch
[Film director, b. 1953, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, lives in New York.]

 Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.” 
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