While photography to Cartier-Bresson is constantly an intuitive process, it is never purely instinctive. It is founded on continuous intellection, on ceaseless consideration during all moments previous to, or preparatory for, the pressing. It does not only operate in the blinding flash of a moment seized; it works all the time. The snatched picture merely cuts across the vein of observable incident or accident which is always beating, whether or not the fingers actually press.
I was struggling against the flypaper of other arts harnessing film to their own usages, which means essentially as a recording device or within the long historical trap of picture - by which I mean a collection of nameable shapes within a frame. I don't even think still photography, with few exceptions, has made any significant attempt to free itself from that.
I was asked by a student what my most significant accomplishment was at National Geographic, after thirty years, and I said that my career came to an appropriate close, and I still loved photography. Not everybody who spends their career at anything ends up fascinated and involved with it.
[X-ray's] accidental discovery in the late 1800s fits seamlessly into modernity's fascination with, and belief in, the power of technological transparency: the desire to domesticate time (cinema), to preserve and capture the surface of the fleeting (photography), to see inside (x-ray).
. . . it is pretentious for photographers to believe that their pictures alone change things. If they did, we wouldn't be besieged by war, by incidents of genocide, by hunger. A more realistic assessment of photography's value is to point out that it is illustrative of what's going on, that it provides a record of history, that photographs can prompt dialogue.
These days, you'd probably shoot it in the daylight and manipulate it in the post. That's [how] most people would do it. [I did the same thing with] with 'Diving Bell and the Butterfly'. No CGI. It's all live photography. And I like that, it's very challenging and exciting to be able to do that.