Nan Goldin
[Photographer, b. 1953, Washington, D.C., lives in New York and Paris.]

 When you set up pictures you’re not at any risk. Reality involves chance and risk and diving for pearls. 

Edward Weston
[Photographer, b. 1886, Highland Park, Illinois, d. 1958, Wildcat Hill, California.]

 I say that chance enters into all branches of art: a chance word or phrase starts a trend of thought in a writer, a chance sound may bring new melody to a musician, a chance combination of lines, new composition to a painter. I take advantage of chance—which in reality is not chance—but being ready, attuned to one’s surroundings—and grasp my opportunity in a way which no other medium can equal in spontaneity, while the impulse is fresh, the excitement strong. The nearest to photography is a quick line sketch, done usually as a note for further elaboration. And how much finer, stronger, more vivid these sketches usually are than the finished painting. 

Joe Rosenthal
[Photographer, b. 1911, Washington, D.C., d. 2006, Novato, California.]

 I swung my camera around and held it until I could guess that this was the peak of the action, and shot. I couldn’t positively say I had the picture. It’s something like shooting a football play; you don’t brag until it’s developed. (On his photograph of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.) 

Roger Ballen
[Photographer, b. 1950, New York, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.]

 A lot of photography is about the unexpected happening during the time that you do the work. So it’s not something that you can really predict. 

Beaumont Newhall
[Photographer, writer, and historian, b. 1908, Lynn, Massachusetts, d. 1993, Santa Fe, New Mexico.]

 It is peculiar to photography that, by the extreme ease of its production, many accidentally interesting photographs are produced. 

Joe Rosenthal
[Photographer, b. 1911, Washington, D.C., d. 2006, Novato, California.]

 When you take a picture like that, you don’t come away thinking that you got a great shot. You don’t know. (1955,on his photograph of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.) 

John Waters
[Filmmaker and photographer, b. 1946, Baltimore, Maryland, lives in Baltimore.]

 The way I photograph... in many ways it’s directed by chance and all my mistakes, which are often the best stuff. I found that no matter if it’s the same tape, the same TV, and the same camera, I can never duplicate an image... your arm jiggles, there’s just too much chance. And I never put it on pause, or use any of that fancy equipment. 

Garry Winogrand
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, d. 1984, Tijuana, Mexico.]

 You see something happening and you bang away at it. Either you get what you saw or you get something else—and whichever is better you print. 
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