I do not want [photography] explained to me in terms of... formulas, learned, but so hopelessly unsatisfying. I do not want my butterfly stuck on a pin and put in a glass case. I want to see the sunlight on its wings as it flits from flower to flower and I don’t care a rap what its Latin name may be.
It was not too much to say that our party carried terror wherever it went. The flashlight of those days was carried in cartridges fired from a revolver. The spectacle of half a dozen strange men invading a house in the midnight hour armed with big pistols which they shot off recklessly was hardly reassuring, however sugary our speech, and it was not to be wonder at if the tenants bolted through windows and down fire-escapes wherever we went.
We used to go in the small hours of the morning to the worst tenements... and the sights I saw there gripped my heart until I felt that I must tell of them, or burst, or turn anarchist, or something... I wrote, but it seemed to make no impression. One morning, scanning my newspaper at the breakfast table, I put it down with an outcry that startled my wife, sitting opposite. There it was, the thing I had been looking for all these years. A four-line dispatch from somewhere in Germany, if I remember right, had it all. A way had been discovered, it ran, to take pictures by flashlight. The darkest corner might be photographed that way.