Paul Strand
[Photographer, b. 1890, New York, d. 1976, Oregeval, France.]

 I read the other day that Minor White said it takes twenty years to become a photographer. I think that is a bit of an exaggeration. I would say, judging from myself, that it takes at least eight or nine years. But it does not take any longer than it takes to learn to play the piano or the violin. If it takes twenty years, you might as well forget about it! 
 I’ve always felt you can do anything you want in photography, if you can get away with it. 
 ... when you put a photograph on the wall it either works as a totality or it doesn’t and all the excuses, rationale, and captions underneath will not make it any better. 
 [An exhibitions is] just a mean and meaningless affair; mean in that they exploit the artists to entertain the public free of charge—meaningless in that they seldom establish any standards.... I can never get used to the idea that... people who claim to enjoy a thing never support the individual who makes what gives them pleasure. 
 I like to photograph people who have strength and dignity in their faces. Whatever life has done to them, it hasn’t destroyed them. 
 Look at the things around you, the immediate world around you. If you are alive, it will mean something to you, and if you care enough about photography, and if you know how to use it, you will want to photograph that meaningness. If you let other people’s vision get between the world and your own, you will achieve that extremely common and worthless thing, a pictorial photograph. 
 The thing I see is outside myself—always. I’m not trying to describe an inner state of being. 
 It’s one thing to photograph people, it is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness. 
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