Hi Ray, I don't have any idea who might have made that first statement, but I'm sure it wasn't Cartier-Bresson. In any case, to put it as politely as I can, it's a statement that leaves something to be desired. How about after the crop that "improves" the photo? Can the revised photo still be "improved" by cropping? If so, where do you stop? With a single pixel? If you've never seen a photo that couldn't be improved with some cropping, it seems to me that even that last pixel would have to go and you'd end up with a blank screen.
The second statement sounds as if it might have been made by somebody who does landscape. Yes, in landscape it's important to get rid of any emotional impacts, extraneous or otherwise, so sitting on a landscape for years probably makes sense.