Aaron Siskind
[Photographer, b. 1903, New York, d. 1991, Providence, Rhode Island.]

 I care only for people—I’m interested only in human destiny. It just happens that I work symbolically—not directly with people as subjects. 
 As the language or vocabulary of photography has been extended, the emphasis of meaning has shifted, shifted from what the world looks like to what we feel about the world and what we want the world to mean. (1958) 
 My idea of what a picture is: it’s there, it exists by itself, it’s clean, it’s economically stated, it’s pure, it has meaning. 
 Every object, to me is a very alive thing. In Gloucester, one summer, the rocks began to seem so animate I could hardly bear to walk over them. 
 As the saying goes, we see in terms of our education. We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect. And indeed it is socially useful that we agree on the function of objects. But, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs. Move on objects with your eye straight on, to the left, around on the right. Watch them grow larger as you approach, group and regroup as you shift your position. Relationships gradually emerge and sometimes assert themselves with finality. And that’s your picture. 
 I accept the flat picture surface as the primary frame of reference of the picture. (1956) 
 The main thing that a work of art has to give you is order. It takes all this mess of ours, which is so wonderful and so disturbing, and puts it together for us so that we can contemplate it. It removes you from life so that you can live your life. 
 I want to bring my pictures to the ideal of music. Like music, it means everything, it says everything, but it is objective. 
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