“It was clear to him that the experimental method was the only method by which one could arrive at any scientific analysis of the passions; and certainly Dorian Gray was a subject made to his hand and seemed to promise rich and fruitful results. His sudden mad love for Sibyl Vane was a psychological phenomenon of no small interest. There was no doubt that curiosity had much to do with it, curiosity and the desire for new experiences; yet it was not a simple but rather a very complex passion. What there was in it of purely sensuous instinct of boyhood had been transformed by the workings of the imagination, changed into something that seemed to the lad himself to be remote from sense, and was for that very reason all the more dangerous. It was the passions about whose origin we deceived ourselves that tyrannised most strongly over us. Our weakest motives were those of whose nature we were conscious. It often happened that when we thought we were experimenting on others we were really experimenting on ourselves.”
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray excerpt, Chapter Four
“One has to begin with the fact, which everybody has always known until recently, that life is full of pain. Not only pain, but it also has a lot of pain. And tenderness in part is a response to that. But is also something else. It seems to me that it is a refusal to judge. It seems to me that actions have to be judged with incredible rigor and all the time declared. There is so much that has to be judged so much that has to be denounced and also so much that has to be praised. But not people. I do not think that we have the right of any final judgement of anybody. And tenderness is in a way an expression of that refusal to judge.
One of the essential elements of tenderness is that it is a free act. A gratuitous act. It has an enormous amount to do with liberty. With freedom. Because one chooses to be tender. And in a certain sense, in face of so often what is surrounding us, it is an almost defiant act of freedom.”
John Berger in conversation with Michael Silverblatt, 2002.
“In my own experience, it always seemed as if language were a tablecloth positioned neatly upon the table of phenomenal nature until some celestial busyboy suddenly shook it out, fluttering and floating it, and letting it fall back upon the world in not quite the same position as before–thereby giving me a vertiginous glimpse into the abyss that divides the world from our knowing it.”
“Freaks,” Dave Hickey, pub. in Air Guitar 1997
“His best photographs are unusually dense — not in the sense of being over-burdened or obscure, but in the sense of being filled with an unusual amount of substance per square inch. And all this substance becomes the stuff of the life of the subject. Take the famous portrait of Mr Bennet from Vermont, New England. His jacket, his shirt, the stubble on his chin, the timber of the house behind, the air around him become in this image the face of life, of which his facial expression is the concentrated spirit. It is the whole photograph, frowning, which surveys us.”
“Paul Strand,” 1972 John Berger pub. in Ways of Looking 1980