I'm not so sure, I think photos show a lot more about the photographer than you might think, at least in top photography. Something about them drove and compelled them to be there to photograph that particular thing in a particular way.
Originally Posted by maxntrike
Cartier-Bresson talks about becoming a better photographer a lot through 'living' and 'experiencing', and how images came about through sensitivity to things. If you read a bit more his philosophy/history comes down to his intense interest in things around him and the way they can be ordered into a geometry at one moment of time to create an image that 'has everything' in it.
So I read the
'Photography is nothing - it's life that interests me' as an affirmation in importance of real candid life, where photography is just a tool (and in the end Cartier-Bresson went back to drawing). Cartier-Bresson certainly studies others (Kertesz for instance, and many other artists, but was never overly enthralled with photography compared to actually capturing photographs. Does that make sense? So I don't think it's contradictory, but it does raise a somewhat similar point to the idea of looking at other photographers - I really like reading photographer's philosophies and certainly take ideas from there.