Ralph Waldo Emerson
[Writer and thinker, b. 1803, Boston, Massachusetts, d. 1882, Concord, Massachusetts.]

 Were you ever daguerreotyped, O immortal man? And did you look with all vigor at the lens of the camera... And in your zeal not to blur the image, did you keep every finger in its place with such energy that your hands became clenched as for fight or despair, and in your resolution to keep your face still, did you feel every muscle becoming every moment more rigid... And when, at last you are relieved of your dismal duties, did you find the curtain drawn perfectly, and the coat perfectly, and the hands true, clenched for combat, and the shape of the face and head?—but, unhappily, the total expression escaped from the face and the portrait of a mask instead of a man? Could you not by grasping it very tight hold the stream of a river, or of a small brook, and prevent it from flowing? 

Howard Bingham
[Photographer and pal to Muhammad Ali, b. 1939, Jackson, Mississippi, d. 2016, Marina del Rey, California.]

 I have had the greatest of all blessings because my eye and my camera became the world’s window to this magnificent life. 

Anthony Hernandez
[Photographer, b. 1947, Los Angeles, lives in Los Angeles.]

 The hardest pictures I’ve ever made were the homeless pictures. I wasn’t in a war zone, but it is as if I were. It’s hard to reconcile the larger segment of society, which is so ordinary, and which would just like the homeless to disappear, with the greatness of the country. We’re reminded that however “great” this country is, the homeless stand for the failure to face the future. 

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

 I have frequently said, and I will repeat again, in the manner of any well-meaning seriality, that I’m interested in mixing the ingratiation of wishful thinking with the criticality of knowing better. 

Sabrina Harman
[U.S. military guard at Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq, b. 1978, Lorton, Virginia, lives in Virginia.]

 ... it went too far even I can’t handle whats going on. I can’t get it out of my head. I walk down stairs after blowing the whistle and beating on the cells with an asp to find “the taxicab driver” handcuffed backwards to his window naked with his underwear over his head and face. He looked like Jesus Christ. At first I had to laugh so I went on and grabbed the camera and took a picture. (October 20, 2003, written from Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq to her friend Kelly) 

Donald McCullin
[Photographer, b. 1935, Finsbury Park, London, lives in Somerset, England.]

 You cannot walk on the water of hunger, misery, and death. You have to wade through to record them. 

Ernst Haas
[Photographer, b. 1921, Vienna, Austria, d. 1986, New York City.]

 Women held bleached-out photographs in the air to the new arrivals. “Do you know him? Have you seen my son?” They called out the names of their men. Children with pictures of fathers they had never seen compared the photographs with the faces of the arrivals. It was almost too much. I staggered home as if in a trance. (On photographing the return of WWII prisoners from the camps in eastern Europe.) 

Nastassja Kinski
[Model and actress, b. 1959, West Berlin, Germany, lives in Los Angeles and Europe.]

 When I cannot get that moment of truth where you feel yourself opening up like a flower, I absolutely loathe the bloody camera. I can just feel this black hole eyeing me, sucking me in, and I feel like smashing it to smithereens. 
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