Adam Gopnik
[Writer and critic, b. 1956, Philadelphia, lives in New York.]

 ... a fact about photography: we can look at people’s faces in photographs with an intensity and intimacy that in life we normally only reserve for extreme emotional states—for a first look at someone we may sleep with, or a last look at someone we love. 

Walker Evans
[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]

 A garbage can, occasionally, to me at least, can be beautiful. That’s because you’re seeing. Some people are able to see that—see it and feel it. I lean toward the enchantment, the visual power, of the esthetically rejected subject. 

Edward Curtis
[Photographer and ethnographer, b. 1868, Whitewater, Wisconsin, d. 1952, Los Angeles.]

 For every negative that is a disappointment, there is one that is a joy. 

George Bernard Shaw
[Writer, critic, and dramatist, b. 1856, Dublin, d. 1950, Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England.]

 If you cannot see at a glance that the old game is up, that the camera has hopelessly beaten the pencil and paint-brush as an instrument of artistic representation, then you will never make a true critic; you are only, like most critics, a picture-fancier. (1901) 

Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 Though photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, free-standing particles; and history, past and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque. It is a view of the world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery. 

Vilém Flusser
[Writer and philosopher, b. 1920, Prague, Czechoslovakia, d. 1991, Prague.]

 [Photographic images] absorb the whole of history and form a collective memory going endlessly round in circles. 

William Eggleston
[Photographer, b. 1939, Memphis, Tennessee, lives in Memphis.]

 We have a few things in common—smoking, drinking, and women. Photography just gets us out of the house. (To photographer Juergen Teller) 

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 I remember a long time ago when I first began to photograph I thought, there are an awful lot of people in the world and it’s going to be terribly hard to photograph all of them, so if I photograph some kind of generalized human being, everybody’ll recognize it. It’ll be like what they used to call the common man or something. It was my teacher, Lisette Model, who finally made it clear to me that the more specific you are, the more general it’ll be.