Henri Cartier-Bresson
[Photographer and painter, b. 1908, Chanteloup, France, d. 2004, Paris.]

 Let the lens rummage the gravel of chance and the unconscious. 

Frederick Sommer
[Photographer, b. 1905, Angri, Italy, d. 1999, Prescott, Arizona.]

 Poetic and speculative photographs can result if one works carefully and accurately, yet letting chance relationships have full play. 

James Agee
[Writer, b. 1909, Knoxville, Tennessee, d. 1955, New York.]

 Many people, even some good photographers, talk of the “luck” of photography as if that were a disparagement. And it is true that luck is constantly at work. It is one of the cardinal creative forces in the universe, one which the photographer has unique equipment for collaborating with. And a photographer often shoots around a subject, especially one that is highly mobile and in continuous and swift development—which seems to me as much his natural business as it is for a poet who is really in the grip of his poem to alter and realter words in his line. It is true that most artists, though they know their own talent and its gifts as luck, work as well as they can against luck, and that in most good works of art, as in little else in creation, luck is either locked out or locked in and semidomesticated, or put to wholly constructive work; but it is peculiarly a part of the good photographer’s adventure to know where luck is most likely to lie in the stream, to hook it, and to bring it in without unfair play and without too much subduing it. Most good photographs, especially the quick and lyrical kind, are battles between the artist and luck. 

Garry Winogrand
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, d. 1984, Tijuana, Mexico.]

 You see something happening and you bang away at it. Either you get what you saw or you get something else—and whichever is better you print. 

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

 Like all photographers, I depend on serendipity, and when you’re photographing children there’s often an abundance of it. I would have an idea of what a photograph would look like and then something would happen—a dog might lumber in and become a critical element. I pray for what might be referred to as the angel of chance. 

Robert Doisneau
[Photographer, b. 1912, Gentilly, Val-de-Marne, France, d. 1994, Montrouge, France.]

 The photographer must be absorbent—like a blotter, allow himself to be permeated by the poetic moment... His technique should be like an animal function... he should act automatically. 

Edward Weston
[Photographer, b. 1886, Highland Park, Illinois, d. 1958, Wildcat Hill, California.]

 I say that chance enters into all branches of art: a chance word or phrase starts a trend of thought in a writer, a chance sound may bring new melody to a musician, a chance combination of lines, new composition to a painter. I take advantage of chance—which in reality is not chance—but being ready, attuned to one’s surroundings—and grasp my opportunity in a way which no other medium can equal in spontaneity, while the impulse is fresh, the excitement strong. The nearest to photography is a quick line sketch, done usually as a note for further elaboration. And how much finer, stronger, more vivid these sketches usually are than the finished painting. 

Brassaï (Gyula Halász)
[Photographer, b. 1889, Brassó, Transylvania, Hungary (now Romania), d. 1984, Eze, Alpes-Maritimes, France.]

 Chance is always there. We all use it. The difference is a poor photographer meets chance one out of a hundred times and a good photographer meets chance all the time. 
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