Nhem En
[Photographer, b. 1961, Kampong Leng, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia, lives in Cambodia.]

 My only job was to photograph them, and it was someone else who tortured and killed these people. As a photographer, I had no right to beat, torture, or kill prisoners. I could not touch them. (En, official photographer at Khmer Rouge torture center Tuol Sleng, estimates he took photographs of 10,000 people arriving at the center. Eight survived.) 

W. Eugene Smith
[Photographer, b. 1918, Wichita, Kansas, d. 1978, Tucson, Arizona.]

 ... and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future—causing them caution and remembrance and realization. 

James Nachtwey
[Photographer, b. 1948, Syracuse, New York, lives in New York.]

 For me the strength of photography lies in its ability to evoke humanity. If war is an attempt to negate humanity, then photography can be perceived as the opposite of war. 

Shomei Tomatsu
[Photographer, b. 1930, Nagoya, Japan, d. 2012, Okinawa, Japan.]

 When I am faced with the victims of the bomb, I find myself almost praying as I release the shutter of my camera. It is as if they are the God of the fin-de-siècle, Christ of the nuclear age. 

Slim Aarons
[Photographer, b. 1916, New York, d. 2006, Montrose, New York.]

 The only beach I was interested in landing on was one decorated with beautiful seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun. (On declining a photojournalism offer to cover the Korean War) 

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

 Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens, and cannot possibly encompass most of the reality to which they refer, they still perform a vital function. The images say: This is what human beings are capable of doing—may volunteer to do, enthusiastically, self-righteously. Don’t forget. 

Susie Linfield
[Writer and critic, lives in New York.]

 Every image of barbarism—of immiseration, humiliation, terror, extermination—embraces its opposite, though sometimes unknowingly. Every image of suffering says not only, “This is so,” but also, by implication: “This must stop.” 

Fred Ritchin
[Critic and writer, b. 1952, Washington, D.C., lives in New York.]

 And the wars? Can our photographs do anything at all? (Or do we turn it all into image so that it will bother us less?) 
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