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

 One thing that struck me very early is that you don’t put into a photograph what’s going to come out. Or, vice versa, what comes out is not what you put in. 

Chip Simons
[Photographer, b. 1958, Ohio, lives in Bosque Farms, New Mexico.]

 I don’t know what I’m doing. I haven’t a clue. That’s why my stuff looks so weird. I’m pretty much untrained, and I thrive on mistakes. 

Jeff Wall
[Photographer, b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada, lives in Vancouver.]

 Art inherently involves artistry. I prepare certain things carefully because I believe that’s what’s required. Other things are completely left to chance. Anything that is prepared, constructed, or organized is done in order to allow the unpredictable “something” to appear and, in appearing, to create the real beauty of the picture, any picture. 

Elliott Erwitt
[Photographer, b. 1928, Paris, France, lives in New York.]

 After following the crowd for a while, I’d then go 180 degrees in the exact opposite direction. It always worked for me, but then again, I’m very lucky. 

Walter Benjamin
[Philosopher, critic, and theorist, b. 1892, Berlin, d. 1940, Port Bou, France.]

 However skillful the photographer, however carefully he poses his model, the spectator feels an irresistible compulsion to look for the tiny spark of chance, of the here and now, with which reality has, as it were, seared the character in the picture; to find that imperceptible point at which, in the immediacy of that long-past moment, the future so persuasively inserts itself that, looking back, we may rediscover it. 

Ray Metzker
[Photographer, b. 1931, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, d. 2014, Philadelphia.]

 Why one picture stands out among many others is always a mystery. In the beginning the subject is never quite known, but in the course of working something shows up on the film or in the print that speaks to me. I can never predict when this will happen. However, when it does there is an excitement—there is the ecstasy of recognition. And this is one of the things that keeps me going. 

Frederick Sommer
[Photographer, b. 1905, Angri, Italy, d. 1999, Prescott, Arizona.]

 There isn’t a lot that can be done about taking a good photograph... You have to accept an involved set of circumstances. And this involved set of circumstances is extraordinary and great for the simple reason that you don’t understand it. 

Pedro Meyer
[Photographer, b. 1935, Madrid, Spain, lives in Mexico City.]

 I am of course not questioning the validity of patience that some great photographers have exerted in order to get at exactly the image that they imagined, but even when patience was at the core of such endeavors an element of chance would inevitably crop up here and there. I personally dislike the notion that my work would be determined mainly by luck. 
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