Catherine Opie
[Photographer, b. 1961, Sandusky, Ohio, lives in Los Angeles.]

 So much of my obsession with being a documentarian comes from this deep-seated sense of the loss of time, and of how things shift so quickly. 

Laurie Simmons
[Photographer, b. 1949, Long Island, New York, lives in New York.]

 People are much more willing nowadays to believe that pictures lie than [that] they can express any kind of truth. 

Imogen Cunningham
[Photographer, b. 1883, Portland, d. 1976, San Francisco.]

 You know, a documentary is only interesting once in a while. If you look at a whole book of Dorothea [Lange]’s where she has row after row of people bending over and digging out carrots—that can be very tedious. And so it’s only once in a while that something happens that is worth doing. 

Roland Barthes
[Writer, critic, and theorist, b. 1915, Cherbourg, d. 1980, Paris.]

 The image freezes an endless number of possibilities; words determine a single certainty... this is why all news photographs are captioned. 

John Tagg
[Writer, theorist, and photohistorian, b. 1949, North Shields, England, lives in Ithica, New York.]

 [“Documentary” photography’s] unlikely and paradoxical mixture of social and psychological “truths,” exotic voyeurism, fetishised artistic subjectivity, and formalist claims to universality, which may once have appeared mutually enhancing, was contradictory and inherently unstable. 

Susie Linfield
[Writer and critic, New York, lives in New York.]

 …images have become more extreme as political clarity has dissipated; this is, I think, no coincidence…. What happens to documentary photography—to the photography of witness—when it no longer has a politics it can support? 

Jeff Wall
[Photographer, b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada, lives in Vancouver.]

 Reportage, or the spontaneous, fleeting aspect of the photographic image, appear simultaneously with the pictorial, tableau-like aspect at the origins of photography; its traces can be seen in the blurred elements of Daguerre’s first scenes. Reportage evolves in the pursuit of the blurred parts of the pictures. 

Jay Maisel
[Photographer, b. 1931, Brooklyn, New York, lives in New York.]

 I take pictures, and they are there for the taking. I’ll tell you a quote that I have always thought about. Arthur Miller said, “I try to create the poem from the evidence.” 
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