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

 When I first started to take photographs in Czechoslovakia, I met this old gentleman, this old photographer, who told me a few practical things. One of the things he said was, “Josef, a photographer works on the subject, but the subject works on the photographer.” 

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

 ...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. 

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. 

Martin Munkacsi
[Photographer, b. 1898, Kolozsvár, Hungary, (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania), d. 1963, New York.]

 My trick—is there one? Well, perhaps a bitter youth with many changes of occupation, with the necessity of trying everything from poetry to berry picking. These difficult early years probably constitute the sources of my modest photographic activity. 

Robert Mapplethorpe
[Photographer, b. 1946, Floral Park, Long Island, d. 1989, Boston, Massachusetts.]

 I would see a young kid walking down 42nd Street and then go into a magazine storefront, which were places I didn’t know anything about. I became obsessed with going into them and seeing what was inside those magazines. They were all sealed, which made them even sexier somehow, because you couldn’t get at them. A kid gets a certain kind of reaction, which of course when you’ve been exposed to everything you don’t get. I got that feeling in my stomach, it’s not a directly sexual one, it’s something more potent than that. I though if I could somehow bring that element into art, if I could somehow retain that feeling, I would be doing something that was uniquely my own. 

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. 

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. 

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

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