John Szarkowski
[Curator, critic, historian, and photographer, b. 1925, Ashland, Wisconsin, d. 2007, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.] enormously larger number of photographs have been made by dumb amateurs, commercial drudges, half-sober news photographers, celebrity merchants, real-estate salesmen, etc., than by photographers with clear and clean artistic intentions—which suggests that the former groups have likely made a great many pictures that might appeal to those of us interested in what photographs can look like, and in how they may contain and convey meaning. 
 The truth is that anyone can make a photo. The trouble is not that photos are hard to make. The trouble is that photos are hard to make intelligent and interesting. 
 If his subject is a complex one, [the photographer] must use the single picture as a writer uses the sentence, as the dependent part of a single unitary statement. Communication is cumulative, and the individual picture is freed from the pretense of balanced finality. 
 In practice a photographer does not concern himself with philosophical issues while working; he makes photographs, working with subject matter that he thinks will make pictures. 
 Much of the best energy of photographers during the past seventy years has been dedicated to the task of thinning out the rank growth of information that the camera impartially records if left to its own devices, in favor of pictures which have been—for lack of a better word—simpler. (1973) 
 Photography is a picture-making medium... It seems to this writer that the best photographers today are full of confidence, sure that the new open position will again be the site of adventure. They have learned that the art of photography is no more (or less) than photography done wonderful. (1975) 
 An artist is a man who seeks new structures in which to order and simplify his sense of the reality of life. For the artist photographer, much of his sense of reality (where the pictures start) and much of his sense of craft (where the picture is completed) are anonymous and untraceable gifts from photography itself. 
 The invention of photography provided a radically new picture-making process—a process based not in synthesis but on selection. The difference was a basic one. Paintings were made... but photographs, as the man on the street puts it, were taken. 
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