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

 Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens, and cannot possibly encompass most of the reality to which they refer, they still perform a vital function. The images say: This is what human beings are capable of doing—may volunteer to do, enthusiastically, self-righteously. Don’t forget. 

James Welling
[Photographer, b. 1951, Hartford, Connecticut, lives in Los Angeles.]

 [Photography] underlines the photographer. That’s the Barthesian “this has been.” Well, “this has been” for the photographer as well. The photographer is the hidden placeholder in the Barthesian equation. 

Shimon Attie
[Photographer, b. 1957, Los Angeles, lives in New York.]

 I use images as signifiers that point to layers of history, lost communities or a latent collective whispering within a certain context. 

George Santayana
[Philosopher and writer, b. 1863, Madrid, Spain, d. 1952, Rome, Italy.]

 The eye only has one retina, the brain a limited capacity for storage; but the camera can receive any number of plates, and the new need never blur or crowd out the old. Here is a new and accurate visual memory, a perfect record of what the brain must necessarily forget or confuse. (1912) 

Timothy O'Sullivan
[Photographer, b. 1840, Ireland or New York (disputed), d. 1882, Staten Island, New York.]

 The battle of Bull Run would have been photographed “close up” but for the fact that a shell from one of the rebel field-pieces took away the photographer’s camera. 

Eugène Atget
[Photographer, b. 1857, Paris, France, d. 1927, Paris.]

 For more than twenty years by my own work and personal initiative, I have gathered from all the old streets of Vieux Paris photographic plates, 18 x 24 format, artistic documents of the beautiful civil architecture of the 16th to the 19th century: the old hôtels, historic or curious houses, beautiful facades, beautiful doors, beautiful woodwork, door knockers, old fountains... This vast artistic and documentary collection is today complete. I can truthfully say that I possess all of Vieux Paris. 

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

 The familiarity of certain photographs builds our sense of the present and immediate past. Photographs lay down routes of reference, and serve as totems of causes: sentiment is more like to crystallize around a photograph than around a verbal slogan. 

Joel Meyerowitz
[Photographer, b. 1938, New York, lives in New York.]

 What I think is so extraordinary about the photograph is that we have a piece of paper with this image adhered to it, etched on it, which interposes itself into the plane of time that we are actually in at that moment. Even if it comes from as far back as 150 years ago, or as recently as yesterday, or a minute before as a Polaroid color photograph, suddenly you bring it into your experience. You look at it, and all around the real world is humming, buzzing and moving, and yet in this little frame there is stillness that looks like the world. That connection, that collision, that interfacing, is one of the most astonishing things we can experience. 
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