Barbara Kruger
[Artist, b. 1945, Newark, New Jersey, lives in New York.]

 I worked with someone else’s photos; I cropped them in whatever way I wanted and put words on top of them. I knew how to do it with my eyes closed. Why couldn’t that be my art? 

Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon)
[Photographer, b. 1820, Paris, d. 1910, Paris.]

 According to Balzac’s theory, all physical bodies are made up entirely of layers of ghostlike images, an infinite number of leaflike skins laid on top of one another. Since Balzac believed man was incapable of making something material from an apparition—that is, creating something from nothing—he concluded that every time someone had his photograph taken, one of the spectral layers was removed from the body and transferred to the photograph. Repeated exposures entailed the unavoidable loss of subsequent ghostly layers, that is, the very essence of life. 

Sally Mann
[Photographer, b. 1951, Lexington, Virginia, lives in Lexington.]

 I believe that photographs actually rob us of our memory. 

Subcommander Marcos (Rafael Sebastian Guillén Vicente)
[Professor and revolutionary, b. 1957, Tampico, Mexico, lives in Chiapas, Mexico.]

 ... the photographer is a thief who chooses what he steals (which, at this stage of the crisis, is a luxury) and does not “democratize” the image, that is to say, the photographer selects the pictures, a privilege which ought to be granted to the person being photographed. 

Edouard Boubat
[Photographer, b. 1923, Paris, France, d. 1999, Paris.]

 In some way, a photo is like a stolen kiss. In fact a kiss is always stolen, even if the woman is consenting. With a photograph it’s the same: always stolen, and still slightly consenting. 

Yousuf Karsh
[Photographer, b. 1908, Mardin, Armenia, d. 2002, Boston, Massachusetts.]

 I try to photograph people’s spirits and thoughts. As to the soul-taking by the photographer, I don’t feel I take away, but rather that the sitter and I give to each other. It becomes an act of mutual participation. 

Richard Prince
[Artist, b. 1949, Panama Canal Zone, lives in New York.]

 What I find is that the taking, the stealing, the appropriation of images has to do with prior availability, and it sets up a degree where things can be shared... It’s like 50% off... You can let something of another emotion or another personality sign on your work, or co-sign it. 

Jim Jarmusch
[Film director, b. 1953, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, lives in New York.]

 Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.” 
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