Clement Greenberg
[Critic, b. 1909, New York, d. 1994, New York.]

 [Edward Weston’s] camera defines everything, but it defines everything in the same way—and excess of detailed definition ends by making everything look as though it were made of the same substance, no matter how varied the surfaces. (1946) 

Camille Paglia
[Writer, b. 1947, Endicott, New York, lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

 The visual is sorely undervalued in modern scholarship. Art history has attained only a fraction of the conceptual sophistication of literary criticism. Drunk with self-love, criticism has hugely overestimated the centrality of language to western culture. It has failed to see the electrifying sign language of images. 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo
[Photographer, b. 1902, Mexico City, d. 2002, Mexico City.]

 The word “art” is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one’s work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics. 

Minor White
[Photographer, writer, and theorist, b. 1908, Minneapolis, Minnesota, d. 1976, Cambridge, Massachusetts.]

 Animal living is photographed full tide with barely a moment of lyricism, none of beauty, and tragedy only a match struck on the seat of the pants…. Actually Klein did not photograph a city; he matched with cheap sensational photography the vulgarity of life in all its ugliness. (1957, On William Klein’s book New York.) 

William Klein
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, lives in Paris.]

 So who can pin down photography? We’re drunk with images. [Sontag’s] sick of it. I’m sick of it. But we’re moved by old amateur photographs because they aren’t concerned about theories of photography or what a picture must be. They’re just photographs without rules or dogma. 

Arnold Newman
[Photographer, b. 1918, New York, d. 2006, New York.]

 ...Susan Sontag wrote her book On Photography—you’ll find no real photographer has ever said it was a good book. Writers wrote about her book and praised her, knowing nothing about photography... Susan Sontag, almost like it was her own original ideas and thoughts, began to say these things, inferring perhaps that photographers didn’t have the intellect to understand what they were doing. And I get angry, because all my life I’ve been discussing the same kind of questions that she had in this short chapter. I could show you where I wrote notes in the margins—the book is black with notes—“this is full of shit, this is not original, we discussed this years ago.” 

Joel-Peter Witkin
[Photographer, b. 1939, Brooklyn, New York, lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.]

 People who hate what I make hate me, too. They must think I am a demon or some kind of evil sorcerer. Those who understand what I do appreciate the determination, love, and courage it takes to find wonder and beauty in people who are considered by society to be damaged, unclean, dysfunctional, or wretched. 

Georges Didi-Huberman
[Writer and thinker, b. 1953, Saint-Etienne, France, lives in Paris.]

 Writing about images means above all writing. It means expressing in spite of everything that which initially appears to be an experience of the inexpressible. 
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