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

 That’s my picture hanging all over the world, but I can’t get a penny out of it. What good’s it doing me? (Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother at 75 years of age living in a trailer park near where the famous photograph was taken and surviving on $331.60 monthly social security.) 

Eve Babitz
[Model and author, b. 1943, Los Angeles, lives in Los Angeles.]

 You know, also I, you know, I was on those birth control pills and my breasts were like, they hurt... and, you know, it was like they blew up like. You know, they wouldn’t fit into any of my dresses. I had to quit taking those birth control pills... This was like—I mean they were like, I thought they should be photographed really... So they were, for immortality. (On being photographed nude playing chess with Marcel Duchamp at Duchamp’s 1963 retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of Art.) 

Ron Haeberle
[Photographer, b. 1941, Cleveland, Ohio, lives in Cleveland.]

 I happened upon a group of GIs surrounding these people and one of the American GIs yelled out, “Hey he’s got a camera.” So they kind of all dispersed just a little bit, and I came upon them and looking at the photograph I noticed the one girl was kind of frantic and an older woman trying to protect this small child and the older woman in front was just, you know, kind of pleading, trying to, beg, you know, begging and that and another person, a woman was buttoning her blouse and holding a small baby. Okay, I took the photograph, I thought they were just going to question the people, but just as soon as I turned and walked away, I heard firing, I looked around and over the corner of my shoulder I saw the people drop. I just kept on walking. (On photographing the My Lai massacre, Vietnam, March, 1968.) 

Harry Benson
[Photographer, b. 1929, Glasgow, Scotland, lives in New York.]

 I was next to Bobby [Kennedy] when he was shot. It was hideous. Part of me wanted to crawl away. I couldn’t… I still wake up in the night and think about it. I even remember the f-stop. It was 1.4. 

Alfred Eisenstaedt
[Photographer, b. 1898, Dirschau, West Prussia (now Tczew, Poland), d. 1995, New York.]

 [I was following the sailor] running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn’t make any difference. None of the pictures that were possible pleased me. Then, suddenly in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse. (On his Times Square photo taken in V-J Day.) 

Hunter Thompson
[Writer, b. 1937, Louisville, Kentucky, d. 2005, Woody Creek, Colorado.]

 These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport. (On photographs of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq) 

Robert Capa (Endre Ernő Friedmann)
[Photographer, b. 1913, Budapest, Hungary, d. 1954, Thai Binh, Vietnam.]

 I had it bad. The empty camera trembled in my hands. It was a new kind of fear shaking my body from toe to hair, and twisting my face. (Remembrance of landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day.) 

Geoffrey Batchen
[Photohistorian, b. 1956, Australia, lives in Wellington, New Zealand.]

 Remember that image of Truman holding up the premature issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune declaring his defeat by Dewey? It is in the Corbis catalogue. Remember Malcolm X pointing out over his crowd of listeners, the airship Hindenberg exploding in the New Jersey sky, that naked Vietnamese child running towards us after being burned by napalm, Churchill flashing his V-for-victory sign, Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, Patty Hearst posing with her gun in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army banner, LBJ being sworn into office aboard Air Force One beside a blood-splattered Jackie? Corbis offers to lease us electronic versions of them all; it offers to sell us, in other words, the ability to reproduce our memories of our own culture, and therefore of ourselves. 
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