… photography has become a household word and a household want; is used alike by art and science, by love, business, and justice; is found in the most sumptuous saloon, and in the dingiest attic—in the solitude of the Highland cottage, and in the glare of the London gin-palace—in the pocket of the detective, in the cell of the convict, in the folio of the painter and architect, among the papers and patterns of the millowner and manufacturer, and on the cold brave breast on the battle-field.
Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, from her 1857 essay on photography.
“We come and we leave. We take our pictures and go. I feel we’re deserting him. I wish I’d never stopped photographing the people we met. I wish I could have stayed with the project my whole life.”
Richard Avedon after a 2003 reunion meeting with Richard Wheatcroft, a subject Avedon first photographed in 1983 for In the American West.
It really does allow my work to stay in … I would say, semi-anonymity. When I started, it was because graffiti is illegal – you get arrested. And then suddenly when I started pasting other people’s portraits on the street it was as if I was writting their name – so why would I put my name up? And then I guess I realized it became easier to stay in the shadow of the work.
JR interview with Kristie Lu Stout.
And at the same time, when something happens, you have to be extremely swift. Like an animal and a prey — vroom! You grasp it and people don’t notice that you have taken it. Very often in a different situation, you can take one picture. You cannot take two. Take a picture and look like a fool, look like a tourist. But if you take two, three pictures, you got trouble. It’s good training to know how far you can go. When the fruit is ripe, you have to pluck it. Quick! With no indulgence over yourself, but daring. I enjoy very much seeing a good photographer working. There’s an elegance, just like in a bullfight.
Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
from a recently discovered 1971 interview by Sheila Turner-Seed
You are never welcome. You have to spend time. You have to be patient. I’m never in a hurry. I have to connect with 100 people to convince one. I live with people. I try to transmit why I am so fascinated with them. And finally they say, ‘Pierre, let’s try.’
interview with Andrew Alexander in Arts Atl.
From its beginnings, photography has lived in persistent conflict with the nature of its being and those elements which can define it. This conflict arises over whether it is the representation of truth or a mechanism for metaphors. Photography is the most painful reiteration of what we are and what we don’t want to be. It is the truth constructed with pieces of truth and pieces of lies. It is what anyone wants it to be … With photography, there is always a mystery, a veil which does not allow us to have the clarity we desire.
Jorge Gutiérrez. Director 1990 to 1994 Museo de Artes Visuales Alejandro Otero, Cararas.
Image and Memory: Photography from Latin America.
If the history of creative photography is considered as a whole, the publishing and dissemination of photographer’s work in book form has been more crucial and far-reaching than the showing of photographs in galleries.
The Photobook: A History, Volume I,
Martin Parr and Gerry Badger