[1926 – 2017] English art critic, novelist, painter and poet

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. - John Berger , About Looking by John Berger, J. Laslocky (Editor) , ISBN: 0679736557
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. - John Berger , Keeping a Rendezvous (Vintage International) by John Berger , ISBN: 0679737146
We hate to look at his [Don McCullin's] pictures, but we have to. McCullin is the eye we cannot shut. - John Berger
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. - John Berger
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. - John Berger , Sixty Years of Photographs by Paul Strand, Calvin Tomkins , ISBN: 0900406828
What makes photography a strange invention - with unforeseeable consequences - is that its primary raw materials are light and time. - John Berger
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. - John Berger
The Look of Things, 1974
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. - John Berger
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. - John Berger
Popular Photography - issue of March 2008, p. 127.
Every photograph presents us with two messages: a message concerning the event photographed and another concerning the shock of discontinuity. - John Berger
To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself. - John Berger
I have decided that seeing this is worth recording. - John Berger
Photography will probably do for the future what sculpture did for the Middle Ages and painting did for the Renaissance. - John Berger
A photograph is static because it has stopped time. A painting or drawing is static because it encompasses time. - John Berger
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... - John Berger
..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. - John Berger
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. - John Berger
A photograph, whilst recording what has been seen, always and by its nature refers to what is not seen. - John Berger has no language of its own. One learns to read photographs as one learns to read footprints or cardiograms. - John Berger
Walk down a street of private galleries—but it is unnecessary to describe the dealers with their faces like silk purses. Everything they say is said to disguise their proper purpose. If you could fuck works of art as well as buy them, they would be pimps. - John Berger
The private photograph is treated and valued today as if it were the materialization of that glimpse through the window which looked across history towards that which was outside time. - John Berger