Martin Parr
[Photographer, b. 1952, Epson, Surrey, England, lives in Bristol and London, England.]

 All types of photography are important. For me, vernacular photography is essential as it provides a record of a moment, of important events in peoples’ lives, whereas many documentary or artistic photos are produced for a specific purpose. There is an urgency in vernacular photography that you don’t necessarily feel in professional photography. 
 Everyone is a photographer now, remember. That’s the great thing about photography. 

Chuck Close
[Artist, b. 1940, Monroe, Washington, lives in New York.]

 ... I think that while photography is the easiest medium in which to be competent it is probably the hardest one in which to develop an idiosyncratic personal vision. It is the hardest medium in which to separate yourself from all those other people who are doing reasonably good stuff and to find a personal voice, your own vision, and to make something that is truly, memorably yours and not someone else’s. A recognized signature style of photography is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve... Photography is not an easy medium. It is, finally, perhaps the hardest of them all. 

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

 Photography has something to do with resurrection... the survival of this image has depended on the luck of a picture made by a provincial photographer who, an indifferent mediator, himself long since dead, did not know that was he was making permanent was the truth—the truth to me. 

Terence Donovan
[Photographer, b. 1936, Stepney, England, d. 1996, London.]

 Look at them, running off 90 rolls of film in the hope that one of them will have a picture on it. Not one of them has seen the inside of a darkroom and most of the buggers don’t know how to load a fucking camera. (On imitators) 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo
[Photographer, b. 1902, Mexico City, d. 2002, Mexico City.]

 Before the Conquest all art was of the people, and popular art has never ceased to exist in Mexico. The art called popular is fugitive in character, with less of the impersonal and intellectual characteristics of the schools. It is the work of talent nourished by personal experience and that of the community—rather than being taken from the experiences of painters in other times and other cultures. 

Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 For the photography of atrocity, people want the weight of witnessing without the taint of artistry, which is equated with insincerity or mere contrivance. Pictures of hellish events seem more authentic when they don’t have the look that comes from being “properly” lighted and composed, because the photographer is either an amateur or—just as serviceable—has adopted one of several familiar anti-art styles. 

Cornelius Jabez Hughes
[Photographer, b. 1819, London, d. 1894, London.]

 The professional, however, has all his energies directed to make things pay. He has too much at stake to speculate. He chooses the safest way. He is the true conservative, and when he gets hold of anything that works passable well, changes with reluctance. If an amateur experiments with a new toning bath on a batch of perhaps half-a-dozen prints, and fails, well the loss is not great, and he gains in knowledge and experience. But the professional has his batch of perhaps six hundred, and if he fail, the loss is something considerable... (1863) 
quotes 49-56 of 56
first page previous page page 7 of 7
display quotes