Nobuyoshi Araki
[Photographer, b. 1940, Tokyo, lives in Tokyo.]

 What makes [photography] obscene is its terrible cruelty. Happiness may be fleeting, but it’s the reason we go on living. Photography is the joy that precedes pain, the moment of life just before death. 

Herman Melville
[Writer, b. 1819, New York, d. 1891, New York.]

 Almost everybody is having his ‘mug’ engraved nowadays; so that this test of distinction is going to be reversed; and therefore, to see one’s ‘mug’ in a magazine, is presumptive evidence that he’s a nobody... I respectfully decline being oblivionated. 

Li Zhensheng
[Photographer, b. 1940, Dalian, China, lives in Beijing.]

 No one asked me to take close-ups of the bodies, but that’s what I did. I had to get very close, so close I could smell the fishy smell of blood and brains. (On his photographs of Red Guard executing prisoners in Harbin, China during the Cultural Revolution.) 

William Carlos Williams
[Writer and poet, b. 1883, Rutherford, New Jersey, d. 1963, Rutherford.]

 No ideas but in things. 

Jasper Johns
[Artist, b. 1930, Augusta, Georgia, lives in Sharon, Connecticut and the island of St. Martin.]

 A picture ought to be looked at the same way you look at a radiator. 

Henrik Ibsen
[Writer, b. 1828, Skien, Norway, d. 1906, Christiania, Norway.]

 Tokay grapes are like photographs, Mr Ekdal, they need sunshine. Isn’t that so? (From The Wild Duck) 

T.S. Elliot
[Poet and critic, b. 1888, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1965, London.]

 There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).  

Nick Knight
[Photographer, b. 1958, London, England, lives in London.]

 I think photography has been wrestling with a burden of telling the truth, which I don’t think it was ever particularly good at.