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

 I just don’t know what makes a picture, really—the thing that makes it is something unique, as far as I can understand. Just like one guy can write a sentence and it’s beautiful and another one can write it and it’s dead. What the difference is, I don’t know. 
 I wish that more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. 
 I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos. 
 I sort of believe [previsualization] is untrue. I mean, are [Ansel Adams and the others] previsualizing a masterpiece, or a perfect print, or what? If I knew every picture I made was going to be a real picture, maybe I could go along with that, but I can’t. 
 When I’m working well, I can make a lot of pictures at one time—three or four, each one as good as the next. Then I can go for a year without making one good exposure. 
 I am interested in revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it. 
 I wanted something important, something spiritual in my life. And as these feelings developed, I found that my spiritual enrichment came through art. It was then that I realized that I wanted to be an artist. That’s it. You see, I learn slowly, but every day I seem to learn more. 
 The photographs that excite me are photographs that say something in a new manner; not for the sake of being different, but ones that are different because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself. I realize that we all do express ourselves, but those who express that which is always being done are those whose thinking is almost in every way in accord with everyone else. Expression on this basis has become dull to those who wish to think for themselves. 
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