Bettina Rheims
[Photographer, b. 1952, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, lives in Paris.]

 I think that I first started to shoot naked women because I wanted my father to look at my images and father liked very pretty women. 

Platon (Platon Rivellis)
[Photographer, b. 1968, London, lives in New York.]

 When I graduated from college, I was working for gritty magazines with no budget and we were reacting against the gloss of the American photographers, where everything was very glamorous and everything was perfectly retouched. Growing up in London, it was always raining, we were very poor, we never saw any celebrities. So I started shooting that way. 

Larry Clark
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1943, Tulsa, Oklahoma, lives in New York.]

 [Eugene Smith] was always writing these diatribes about truth, and how he wanted to tell the truth, the truth, the truth. It was a real rebel position. It was kind of like a teenager’s position: why can’t things be like they should be? Why can’t I do what I want? I latched on to that philosophy. One day I snapped, hey, you know, I know a story that no one’s ever told, never seen, and I’ve lived it. It’s my own story and my friends’ story. 
 ...I didn’t know what other people were doing because I was working in a vacuum—just me. I wasn’t looking at art. I wasn’t not looking at anything. 
I made a point not to look at anything because I was afraid that I’d be influenced. 

Berenice Abbott
[Photographer, writer, teacher, b. 1898, Springfield, Ohio, d. 1991, Monson, Maine.]

 There are many teachers who could ruin you. Before you know it you could be a pale copy of this teacher or that teacher. You have to evolve on your own. 

Roger Ballen
[Photographer, b. 1950, New York, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.]

 The thing that influences me the most is my own pictures. 

Paul Strand
[Photographer, b. 1890, New York, d. 1976, Oregeval, France.]

 Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees. You may see and be affected by other people’s ways, you may even use them to find your own, but you will eventually have to free yourself of them. That is what Nietzsche meant when he said, “I have just read Schopenhauer, now I have to get rid of him.” He knew how insidious other people’s ways could be, particularly those which have the forcefulness of profound experience, if you let them get between you and your own vision. 

Gordon Parks
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1912, Fort Scott, Kansas, d. 2006, New York.]

 I was born to a black childhood of confusion and poverty. The memory of that beginning influences my work today, It is impossible now to photograph a hungry child without remembering the hunger of my old childhood. 
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