David Levi Strauss
[Writer and critic, b. 1953, Junction City, Kansas, lives in New York.]
One terrible truth about photographs is that they can only ever show us what happened, never what is happening or will happen. They are always about something that is gone, and so are in league with death.
[Photojournalist, b. 1946, Salt Lake City, Utah, lives in Arlington, Virginia.]
I see myself as a recorder of history, sort of a visual historian.
[Photographer, b. 1938, Biskovice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia, lives in Paris.]
The changes taking place in this part of Europe are enormous and very rapid. One world is disappearing. I am trying to photograph what’s left. I have always been drawn to what is ending, what will soon no longer exist.
[Photographer, b. 1946, Douglas, Isle of Man, United Kingdom, lives in Boston.]
The moment you make a photograph you consign whatever you photograph to the past as that specific moment no longer exists, it is history. The photography that I practice takes place in a specific time and place, depicting real moments in people’s lives. In some ways I think of myself as a historian, but not of the word. History is most often written from a distance, and rarely from the viewpoint of those who endured it.
[Philosopher, critic, and theorist, b. 1892, Berlin, d. 1940, Port Bou, France.]
History breaks down into images, not into stories.
[Writer, semiotician, and philosopher, b. 1932, Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy, d. 2016, Milan.]
The vicissitudes of our century have been summed up in a few exemplary photographs that have proved epoch-making: the unruly crowd pouring into the square during the “ten days that shook the world;” Robert Capa’s dying miliciano; the marines planting the flag on Iwo Jima; the Vietnamese prisoner being executed with a shot in the temple; Che Guevara’s tortured body on a plank in a barracks. Each of these images has become a myth and has condensed numerous speeches. It has surpassed the individual circumstance that produced it; it no longer speaks of that single character or of those characters, but expresses concepts.
[Feminist and writer, b. 1929, Baltimore, Maryland, d. 2012, Santa Cruz, California.]
Whatever is unnamed, undepicted in images, whatever is omitted from biography, censored in collections of letters, whatever is misnamed as something else, made difficult to come by, whatever is buried in the memory by the collapse of meaning under an inadequate or lying language, this will become not merely unspoken, but unspeakable.
[Writer and photo historian, b. 1937, Poughkeepsie, New York, lives in Princeton, New Jersey.]
Each image suggests an inner reality, a kind of scar of the past, a reflection of an act or an event once lived.