Philip Jones Griffiths
[Photojournalist, b. 1936, Rhuddian, Wales, d. 2008, London.]

 When Bill Gates started Corbis we were told that he needed images to fill those “digital picture frames” in his home, and many found this plausible. But now it’s pretty clear that he’s set out to control the visual history of the twentieth century. 

Milan Kundera
[Writer, b. 1929, Brno, Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia), lives in Paris.]

 The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past. They are fighting for access to the laboratories where photographs are retouched and biographies and histories rewritten. 

Brassaï (Gyula Halász)
[Photographer, b. 1889, Brassó, Transylvania, Hungary (now Romania), d. 1984, Eze, Alpes-Maritimes, France.]

 Photography in our time leaves us with a grave responsibility. While we are playing in our studios with broken flowerpots, oranges, nude studies and still lifes, one day we know that we will be brought to account: life is passing before our eyes without our ever having seen a thing. 

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. 

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

 History breaks down into images, not into stories. 

Walt Whitman
[Writer and poet, b. 1819, South Huntington, Long Island, New York, d. 1892, Camden, New Jersey.]

 [Mathew Brady and I] had many a talk together: the point was, how much better it would often be, rather than having a lot of contradictory records by witnesses or historians—say of Caesar, Socrates, Epictetus, others—if we could have three or four or half a dozen portraits—very accurate—of the men: that would be history—the best history—a history from which there could be no appeal. (1889) 

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

 If photographs are our connection to the past, it’s a very peculiar, fragile, sentimental connection. You take a photograph before you destroy something. The photograph is its posthumous existence. 

Gilles Peress
[Photographer, b. 1946, Neuilly, France, lives in New York.]

 I don’t care so much anymore about “good photography,” I am gathering evidence for history. 
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