Weegee (Usher Fellig)
[Photographer, b. 1899, Zlothew near Lemberg, Austrian Galicia (now Zolochiv, Ukraine), d. 1968, New York.]

 Being a free-lance photographer was not the easiest way to make a living. There had to be a good meaty story to get the editors to buy the pictures. A truck crash with the driver trapped inside, his face a crosscross of blood... a tenement house fire, with the screaming people being carried down the aerial ladder clutching their babies, dogs, cats, canaries, parrots, monkeys, and even snakes... a just-shot gangster, lying in the gutter, well dressed in his dark suit and pearl hat, hot off the griddle, with a priest, who seemed to appear from nowhere, giving him the last rites. 

Jeff Wall
[Photographer, b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada, lives in Vancouver.]

 It is astonishing to remember that important art-photographs could be purchased for under $100 not only in 1950 but in 1960. 

Florence Thompson
[Migrant mother, b. 1904, Oklahoma, d. 1983, Scotts Valley, California.]

 I wish she [Dorothea Lange] hadn’t taken my picture. I can’t get a penny out of it. She didn’t ask my name. She said she wouldn’t sell the pictures. She said she’d send me a copy. She never did. (1978, on the 1936 photo of her titled Migrant Mother.) 

Thomas Ruff
[Photographer, b. 1958, Zell, Germany, lives in Dusseldorf, Germany.]

 The newspaper photograph is the stepchild of photography. It’s cut at random to fit into an article, captioned, and turned into an illustration of the text. 

Deborah Turbeville
[Photographer, b. 1932, Medford, Massachusetts, d. 2013, New York.]

 It’s seeing all those people who you’ve seen for years, who’ve spent fifty years of their lives just looking at clothes. I mean, I’ve got nothing against them. It’s not really a feminist point; it’s just that I don’t want to be there. (On fashion photography) 

Sandy Skoglund
[Photographer, b. 1946, Quincy, Massachusetts, lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.]

 If you could see a photograph of what it took to make an advertising photograph—things you don’t think about, like the photo assistant carefully arranging the meatballs—the degree of unnaturalness would be astonishing. Yet it produces an image that looks natural, and is orchestrated to provoke basic emotional responses. 

Josef Koudelka
[Photographer, b. 1938, Biskovice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia, lives in Paris.]

 Personally, I have had the good fortune of always being able to do what I wanted, never working for others. Maybe it is a silly principle, but the idea that no one can buy me is important for me. I refuse assignments, even for projects that I have decided to do anyhow. It is somewhat the same with my books. When my first book, the one on the gypsies, was published, it was hard for me to accept the idea that I could no longer choose the people to whom I would show my photos, that any one could buy them. 
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