Nathan Lyons
[Photographer, writer, and curator, b. 1930, Jamaica, New York, d. 2016, Rochester, New York.]

 The accidents of millions of amateurs devoid of a picture vocabulary—which produced an outpouring of multiple exposures, distortions, unusual perspectives, foreshortening of planes, imbalance—has contributed greatly to the visual vocabulary of all media since before the turn of the century. 

George Bataille
[Philosopher and writer, b. 1897, Billon, Puy-de-Dôme, France, d. 1962, Paris.]

 ...specialist art photographers can produce nothing more than rather tedious technical acrobatics. Press photographs or film stills are much more pleasurable to look at and much livelier than the majority of masterpieces that are presented for the public’s admiration. 

William Klein
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, lives in Paris.]

 So who can pin down photography? We’re drunk with images. [Sontag’s] sick of it. I’m sick of it. But we’re moved by old amateur photographs because they aren’t concerned about theories of photography or what a picture must be. They’re just photographs without rules or dogma. 

Chuck Close
[Artist, b. 1940, Monroe, Washington, lives in New York.]

 I always say that inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. 

Inge Morath
[Photographer, b. 1923, Graz, Austria, d. 2002, New York.]

 In my heart I like to remain an amateur, in the sense of being in love with what I’m doing, forever astonished again at the endless possibilities of seeing and using the camera as a recording tool. 

Hiroshi Sugimoto
[Photographer, b. 1948, Tokyo, lives in New York.]

 I didn’t want to be criticized for taking low-quality photographs, so I tried to reach the best, highest quality of photography and then to combine this with a conceptual art practice. But thinking back, that was the wrong decision [laughs]. Developing a low-quality aesthetic is a sign of serious fine art—I still see this. 

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

 Photography’s a case of keeping all the pores of the skin open, as well as the eyes. A lot of photographers today think that by putting on the uniform, the fishing vest, and all the Nikons, that that makes them a photographer. But it doesn’t. It’s not just seeing. It’s feeling. 

Charlotte Cotton
[Curator and author, b. 1981, Cotswolds, England, lives in London.]

 We are not only a civilization of amateur photographers; we are amateur curators, editors, and publishers. 
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