Pleasure of tragedy is vicarious suicide.

All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation.

How much self-love comes in the guise of selfless devotion!

Desire wills its perpetuation ad infinitum.

All aesthetic judgment is really cultural evaluation.

I vulgarize my feelings by speaking of them too readily to others.

I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all.

Photographs shock insofar as they show something novel.

Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.

Surrealism is a bourgeois disaffection; that its militants thought it universal is only one of the signs that it is typically bourgeois.

Time evaporate, money is always needed, comforts found where they were not expected and excitement dug up in barren ground.

Up to a point, the weight and seriousness of such photographs survive better in a book, where one can look privately, linger over the pictures, without talking. Still, at some moment the book will be closed. The strong emotion will become a transient one.

People don't become inured to what they are shown - if that's the right way to describe what happens - because of the quantity of images dumped on them. It is passivity that dulls feeling. The states described as apathy, moral or emotional anesthesia, are full of feelings; the feelings are rage and frustration.

To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder - a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.

Strictly speaking, nothing that's said is true.

My urge to write is an urge not to self-expressionism but to self-transcendence. My work is both bigger and smaller than I am.

Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.

What I write is smarter than I am. Because I can rewrite it.

Most people in this society who aren't actively mad are, at best, reformed or potential lunatics.

Interpretation, based on the highly dubious theory that a work of art is composed of items of content, violates art.

One criticizes in others what one recognizes and despises in oneself. For example, an artist who is revolted by another's ambitiousness.

There does come a point when you have to acknowledge you're no longer postponing something and you really have made a choice.

Nothing is more punitive than to give a disease a meaning - that meaning being invariably a moralistic one.

Philosophy is an art form—art of thought or thought as art.

If there can be a better way for the real world to include the one of images, it will require an ecology not only of real things but of images as well.

Regenerative experiences: Plunge into the sea. The sun. An old city. Silence.

To take a picture is to have an interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged, to be in complicity with whatever makes a subject interesting, worth photographing-including, when that is the interest, another person's pain or misfortune.

The shock of photographed atrocities wears off with repeated viewings, just as the surprise and bemusement felt the first time one sees a pornographic movie wear off after one sees a few more.

The war goes on—an ache in the bones, an ache in the gut, an ache in the heart.

A writer is first of all a reader. It is from reading that I derive the standards by which I measure my own work and according to which I fall lamentably short.

Pornography is a theatre of types, never of individuals.

What is beautiful reminds us of nature as such—of what lies beyond the human and the made—and thereby stimulates and deepens our sense of the sheer spread and fullness of reality, inanimate as well as pulsing, that surrounds us all.

I like to feel dumb. That's how I know there's more in the world than me.

It is passivity that dulls feeling.

The problems of this world are only truly solved in two ways: by extinction or duplication.

The love of the famous, like all strong passions, is quite abstract. Its intensity can be measured mathematically, and it is independent of persons.

With time, many staged photographs turn back into historical evidence, albeit of an impure kind - like most historical evidence.

One cannot use the life to interpret the work. But One can use the work to interpret the life.

My emotional life: dialectic between craving for privacy and need to submerge myself in a passionate relationship to another. With him I have neither, neither privacy or passion. Neither the heightening of self which is won by privacy and loneliness, nor the splendid heroic beautiful loss of self that accompanies passion.

Being in Love means being willing to ruin yourself for the other person.

We can't imagine how dreadful, how terrifying war is; and how normal it becomes. Can't understand, can't imagine. That's what every soldier, and every journalist and aid worker and independent observer who has put in time under fire, and had the luck to elude the death that struck down others nearby, stubbornly feels. And they are right.

The function of writing is to explode one's subject—transform it into something else. (Writing is a series of transformations).

The memory of war, however, like all memory, is mostly local.

The Queen had real power, and a woman in power, feared as virile, is often accused of being a slut.

Reading usually precedes writing. And the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.

The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects – making it possible… to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.

I got through my childhood in a delirium of literary exaltations.

What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death.

Read a lot. Expect something big, something exalting or deepening from a book. No book is worth reading that isn't worth re-reading.