John Szarkowski
[Curator, critic, historian, and photographer, b. 1925, Ashland, Wisconsin, d. 2007, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.]

 Since its earliest days, photography has been practiced by thousands who shared no common tradition or training, who were disciplined and united by no academy or guild, who considered their medium variously as a science, an art, a trade, or an entertainment, and who were often unaware of each other’s work... Some of these pictures were the product of knowledge and skill and sensibility and invention; many were the product of accident, improvisation, misunderstanding, and empirical experiment. But whether produced by art or by luck, each picture was part of a massive assault on our traditional habits of seeing. 

Giséle Freund
[Photographer, b. 1908, Berlin, Germany, d. 2000, Paris, France.]

 Before the first press pictures, the ordinary man would visualize only those events that took place near him, on his street or in his village. Photography opened a window. As the reader’s outlook expanded, the world began to shrink. 

Alvin Langdon Coburn
[Photographer, b. 1882, Boston, Massachusetts, d. 1966, Wales.]

 Photography is too easy in a superficial way, and in consequence is treated slightingly by people who ought to know better. One does not consider Music an inferior art simply because little Mary can play a scale. (1916) 

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

 The photographer’s act is to see the outside world precisely, with intelligence as well as sensuous insight. This act of seeing sharpens the eye to an unprecedented acuteness. He often sees swiftly an entire scene that most people would pass unnoticed. His vision is objective, primarily. His focus is on the world, the scene, the subject, the detail. As he scans his subject he sees as the lens sees, which differs from human vision. Simultaneously he sees the end result, which is to say he sees photographically. 

William Klein
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, lives in Paris.]

 Quite deliberately, I did the opposite to what was usually done. I thought that an absence of framing, chance, use of the accidental and a different relationship with the camera would make it possible to liberate the photographic image. There are some things that only a camera can do. The camera is full of possibilities as yet unexploited. But that is what photography is all about. The camera can surprise us. We must help it do so. 

Henry Peach Robinson
[Photographer, b. 1830, Ludlow, Shropshire, England, d. 1901, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England.]

 It may be said that there is scarcely anything our art cannot accomplish, even to seeing things invisible to ordinary senses and photographing the living bones of which are frames are made. (1896) 

Harry Callahan
[Photographer, b. 1912, Detroit, Michigan, d. 1999, Atlanta, Georgia.]

 Everything was Bauhaus this and Bauhaus that. I wanted to break it... I got tired of experimentation. I got sick of the solarization and reticulation and walked-on negatives. What I was interested in was the technique of seeing... I introduced problems like “evidence of man,” and talking to people—making portraits on the street... I thought [the students] should enter into dealings with human beings and leave abstract photography. I felt that social photography would be the next concern. 
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