The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. Yet no other god has been so cynical, for the camera records in order to forget.
We hate to look at his [Don McCullin's] pictures, but we have to. McCullin is the eye we cannot shut.
The photographic moment for Strand is a biographical or historic moment, whose duration is measured not by seconds, but by its relation to a lifetime.
The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play, not with form, but with time. One might argue that photography is as close to music as to painting. . . a photograph bears witness to a human choice being exercised. This choice is not between photographing x and y: but between photographing at x moment or at y moment.
A photograph is a meeting place where the interests of the photographer, the photographed, the viewer, and those who are using the photographs are often contradictory. These contradictions both hide and increase the natural ambiguity of the photographic image.
To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself.
Photography will probably do for the future what sculpture did for the Middle Ages and painting did for the Renaissance.
The camera which isolates a moment of agony isolates no more violently than the experience of that moment isolates itself. The word trigger, applied to the rifle and camera, reflects a correspondence which does not stop at the purely mechanical. The image seized by the camera is doubly violent...
What served in the place of the photograph, before the camera’s invention? The expected answer is the engraving, the drawing, the painting. The more revealing answer might be: memory.
..photography has no language of its own. One learns to read photographs as one learns to read footprints or cardiograms.
All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this -as in other ways- they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers. Because each one of us forgets different things, a photo more than a painting may change its meaning according to who is looking at it.
Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.
What makes photography a strange invention - with unforeseeable consequences - is that its primary raw materials are light and time.
Photographs bear witness to a human choice being exercised in a given situation. A photograph is a result of the photographer's decision that it is worth recording that this particular event or this particular object has been seen. If everything that existed were continually being photographed, every photograph would become meaningless.
Every photograph presents us with two messages: a message concerning the event photographed and another concerning the shock of discontinuity.
A photograph is static because it has stopped time. A painting or drawing is static because it encompasses time.
..hundreds of millions of photographs, fragile images, often carried next to the heart or placed by the side of the bed, are used to refer to that which historical time has no right to destroy.
A photograph, whilst recording what has been seen, always and by its nature refers to what is not seen.