John Szarkowski
[Curator, critic, historian, and photographer, b. 1925, Ashland, Wisconsin, d. 2007, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.]

 Photography was not invented to serve a clearly understood function. There was in fact widespread uncertainty, even among its inventors, as to what it might be good for. 
 The photographer’s vision convinces us to the degree that the photographer hides his hand. 
 Photography has learned about its nature not only from its great masters, but also from the simple and radical works of photographers of modest aspiration and small renown. 
 Photography is a contest between a photographer and the presumptions of approximate and habitual seeing. The contest can be held anywhere... 
 I am not especially interested in anonymous photography, or avant-garde photography, or in straight, crooked, or any other subspecific category; I am interested in the entire, indivisible hairy beast—because in the real world, where photographs are made, these subspecies, or races, interbreed shamelessly and continually. (2006) 
 The basic material of photographs is not intrinsically beautiful. It’s not like ivory or tapestry or bronze or oil on canvas. You’re not supposed to look at the thing, you’re supposed to look through it. It’s a window. 
 Most issues of importance cannot be photographed. 
 To photograph beautifully a choice vestigial remnant of natural landscape is not necessarily to do a great favor to its future.... It is difficult today for an ambitious young photographer to photograph a pristine snowcapped mountain without including the parking lot in the foreground as a self-protecting note of irony. 
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