Harry Callahan
[Photographer, b. 1912, Detroit, Michigan, d. 1999, Atlanta, Georgia.]

 To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there is no guarantee that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters. 

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

 What’s happening is that people are making a billion photographs a year of their cats, frequently with the cats wearing costumes. Do you think I should be doing shows of cat photography? 

Claude Lévi-Strauss
[Anthropologist, b. 1908, Brussels, Belgium, d. 2009, Paris.]

 [Photography] remains servile to a “thoughtless” vision of the world… As the term snapshot suggests, photography seizes the moment and exhibits it. 

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

 Photographs do not explain; they acknowledge. 

Duane Michals
[Photographer, b. 1932, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, lives in New York.]

 Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. 

W. Eugene Smith
[Photographer, b. 1918, Wichita, Kansas, d. 1978, Tucson, Arizona.]

 ... and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future—causing them caution and remembrance and realization. 

Peter Henry Emerson
[Writer and photographer, b. 1856, LaPalma, Cuba, d. 1936, Falmouth, Cornwall, England.]

 I have, I regret it deeply, compared photographs to great works of art and photographers to great artists. I was rash and thoughtless and my punishment is having to acknowledge it now… (1891, in a recantation of his earlier advocacy of photography.) 

Sabrina Harman
[U.S. military guard at Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq, b. 1978, Lorton, Virginia, lives in Virginia.]

 If I come up to you and I’m like, “Hey this is going on,” you probably wouldn’t believe me unless I had something to show you. So if I say “Hey this is going on. Look, I have proof,” you can’t deny it, I guess. (On why she took the infamous photos of abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq)