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. 

John Baldessari
[Artist, b. 1931, National City, California, lives in Venice, California.]

 Probably one of the worst things to happen to photography is that cameras have viewfinders. 

Harry Callahan
[Photographer, b. 1912, Detroit, Michigan, d. 1999, Atlanta, Georgia.]

 I sort of believe that a picture is like a prayer; you’re offering a prayer to get something, and in a sense it’s like a gift of God because you have practically no control—at least I don’t. 

Chris Marker
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1921, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Île-de-France, d. 2012, Paris.]

 ...after a certain quantity, photos apparently taken by chance, postcards chosen according to a passing mood, begin to trace an itinerary, to map the imaginary country that stretches out before us. 

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

 Poetic and speculative photographs can result if one works carefully and accurately, yet letting chance relationships have full play. 

Paolo Roversi
[Photographer, b. 1947, Ravenna, Italy, lives in Paris.]

 My studio is a place for chance, the dream, the imaginary to prevail. I give these forces as much space as I can. 

James Agee
[Writer, b. 1909, Knoxville, Tennessee, d. 1955, New York.]

 Many people, even some good photographers, talk of the “luck” of photography as if that were a disparagement. And it is true that luck is constantly at work. It is one of the cardinal creative forces in the universe, one which the photographer has unique equipment for collaborating with. And a photographer often shoots around a subject, especially one that is highly mobile and in continuous and swift development—which seems to me as much his natural business as it is for a poet who is really in the grip of his poem to alter and realter words in his line. It is true that most artists, though they know their own talent and its gifts as luck, work as well as they can against luck, and that in most good works of art, as in little else in creation, luck is either locked out or locked in and semidomesticated, or put to wholly constructive work; but it is peculiarly a part of the good photographer’s adventure to know where luck is most likely to lie in the stream, to hook it, and to bring it in without unfair play and without too much subduing it. Most good photographs, especially the quick and lyrical kind, are battles between the artist and luck. 

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

 Photography is the only major art in which professional training and years of experience do not confer an insuperable advantage over the untrained and inexperienced—this for many reasons, among them the large role that chance (or luck) plays in the taking of pictures, and the bias toward the spontaneous, the rough, the imperfect. 
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