[1919-2009] Photographer, writer and teacher

You should be able to look at me and see my work. You should be able to look at my work and see me. - Roy DeCarava
I am bitter, but that's a safety valve, a self-indulgence. Either you believe that life in all its manifold horrors is basically and essentially good, or you don't...What I try to say in my work is that I believe in life. I can't create out of bitterness. It undermines my creativity. - Roy DeCarava
..a black painter to be an artist had to join the white world or not function — had to accept the values of white culture, like emphasizing technique in painting rather than what the artist feels. Black people have a spiritualism, maybe because for so long they had nothing else. - Roy DeCarava
Photography is an intransigent medium, and it's very hard to express yourself. After you get a certain technical facility — and from the very first I took 'good' pictures — you've got to get at what you feel. - Roy DeCarava
I want to reach people inside, way down — to give them a quiver in their stomach. I've reached a certain plateau at this point, where I can sense an even greater intensity in a situation than I'm able to get on film. That's what I've got to learn to capture, even if it takes the rest of my life. - Roy DeCarava
Going outside and meeting the challenge of taking what is and making it yours, that’s what photography does for me. It’s not the subject that interests me as much as my perception of the subject. - Roy DeCarava
The wind." - Roy DeCarava
To the question: "What haven't you been able to photograph that you've very much wanted to?"
It's the not the subject that interests me as much as my perception of the subject. - Roy DeCarava
I don't really think that the technique really determines the veracity of the image. It's what the image does to the viewer that determines whether it's right or wrong. - Roy DeCarava
Seeing your work on the wall is like the ultimate thing that can happen. - Roy DeCarava
Artists are a very important part of our society because they make a great contribution to our values. The artist creates a value system that we all grow up on, whether we know it or not. - Roy DeCarava
The artist creates the material that we look back upon as part of history. - Roy DeCarava
The artist is a kind of a seer and by nature he is optimistic because he believes in the future. - Roy DeCarava
A photograph is a photograph, a picture, an image, an illusion complete within itself, depending neither on words, reproductive processes or anything else for its life, its reason for being. - Roy DeCarava
There were no black images of dignity, no images of beautiful black people. There was this big hole. I tried to fill it. - Roy DeCarava
My pictures are immediate and yet the same time, they’re forever. They present a moment so profoundly a moment that it becomes an eternity…. It’s like the pole vaulter who begins his run, shoots up, then comes down. At the peak there is no movement. He’s neither going up nor going down. That is the moment I wait for... - Roy DeCarava
My photographs are subjective and personal—they’re intended to be accessible, to relate to people’s lives... People—their well-being and survival—are the crux of what’s important to me. - Roy DeCarava
For me, photography must be visual, rather than intellectual and ideological. - Roy DeCarava
..I want to show the strength, the wisdom, the dignity of the Negro people. Not the famous and well known, but the unknown and unnamed, thus revealing the roots from which spring the greatness of all human beings... I do not want a documentary or sociological statement, I want a creative expression, the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negroes which I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret. - Roy DeCarava
I try to photograph things that are near to me because I work best among things I know. I’m not concerned with startling anyone or discovering new forms; formal qualities are only tools to help state my message. - Roy DeCarava