Sophie Calle
[Artist, b. 1953, Paris, lives in Paris and New York.]

 I met a photographer who agreed to give me a few lessons; in exchange, I had to pose naked for him. 

Robert Heinecken
[Photographer, b. 1931, Denver, d. 2006, Albuquerque, New Mexico.]

 I was never in a school situation where someone said, “This is the way a photograph is supposed to look.” I was completely open to cut them up, or do anything like that. I think if I had been in touch with people earlier, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that. It would have been too bizarre. 

Lord Snowdon (Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones)
[Earl and photographer, b. 1930, London, England, d. 2017, London.]

 I think it’s all absolute nonsense how people talk about photography as being an art. It’s a very menial career that you do if you draw badly. Now they teach it at the Royal College of Art and get grand about it. It’s the only course there that I don’t understand. 

Eudora Welty
[Writer, b. 1909, Jackson, Mississippi, d. 2001, Jackson.]

 They taught me. The subjects taught me, and my response is what I photographed. 

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

 Not having gone to photography school, I never learned the rules. 

Larry Sultan
[Photographer, b. 1946, Brooklyn, New York, d. 2009, Greenbrae, California.]

 ...when it comes down to making work that really sings, I don’t know if I can teach any of it. I don’t even know if I can do any of it half the time. It’s so much about failure, it’s so much about making pictures that are so utterly boring and overstated, you’re endlessly disappointed. And in that process you hopefully find something that draws you back and calls to you. 

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

 I really didn’t have much to teach. I didn’t even believe in it. I felt so strongly that everybody had to find their own way... In terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it. If you don’t do it, you don’t know what might happen. 
 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. 
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