Sally Mann
[Photographer, b. 1951, Lexington, Virginia, lives in Lexington.]

 The hardest part is setting the camera on the tripod, or making the decision to bring the camera out of the car, or just raising the camera to your face, believing, by those actions, that whatever you find before you, whatever you find there, is going to be good. 

Roland Barthes
[Writer, critic, and theorist, b. 1915, Cherbourg, d. 1980, Paris.]

 I observe with horror an anterior future of which death is the stake... In front of the photograph of my mother as a child, I tell myself she is going to die... Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe. 

Tom Wolfe
[Writer, b. 1930, Richmond, Virginia, d. 2018, New York.]

 Suddenly there is magic in such items... as random and eccentric framing, blurred images, keeling horizons, distorted scale, unreal colors (puce waters, chartreuse skies), grotesque foreshortening... and nightclub photo lighting with its flash overexposures and clotted shadows and inexplicable detail and tilted walls and stray items—arms, legs, shoes, cloven bottoms, anorexic elbows—appearing in an amputated condition about the edges... Once regarded as technical limitation of the medium, as annoyances to be overcome by professional expertise, they now become like animae, tree spirits, to be treated with reverence and looked to for guidance. 

Edgar Allan Poe
[Writer, b. 1809, Boston, Massachusetts, d. 1849, Baltimore, Maryland.]

 [The daguerreotype] itself must undoubtedly be regarded as the most important, and perhaps the most extraordinary triumph of modern science. 

Cindy Sherman
[Artist, b. 1954, Glen Ridge, New Jersey, lives in New York.]

 In horror stories or in fairy tales, the fascination with the morbid is also, at least for me, a way to prepare for the unthinkable... That’s why it’s very important for me to show the artificiality of it all, because the real horrors of the world are unmatchable, and they’re too profound. 

Hunter Thompson
[Writer, b. 1937, Louisville, Kentucky, d. 2005, Woody Creek, Colorado.]

 These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport. (On photographs of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq) 

David Maisel
[Photographer, b. 1961, New York, lives in San Francisco.]

 I seek to reveal the landscape in something other than purely visual terms, the photograph transcribing it as an archetypal space of destruction and ruin that mirrors the darker corners of our consciousness. 

Walker Evans
[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]

 With the camera, it’s all or nothing. You either get what you’re after at once, or what you do has to be worthless. 
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