Photography Quotes

Thoughts From The Giants of Photography

My personal choices from the websites brainyquote.com, agallery.com, anchellworkshops.com, www.quotationspage.com, www.famousquotes.com

 

I didn’t want to tell the tree or weed what it was. I wanted it to tell me something and through me express its meaning in nature.
Wynn Bullock

 

A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term — meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching — there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

Some photographers take reality… and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
Ansel Adams

 

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

 

I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don’t like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself.
Diane Arbus

 

Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand.
Margaret Bourke-White

 

Like people and let them know it.
Robert Capa

 

I work to attain a ‘state of heart’, a gentle space offering inspirational substance that could purify one’s vision. Photography, like music, must be born in the unmanifest world of spirit.

Paul Caponigro

 

Photography is not easy. You know it takes a painter or a sculpture or a musician years to perfect their technique. Then they’re free to make an expression in a matter of moments. It takes moments for a photographer to perfect his technique. And then it takes years for him to make it into something that is truly creative and worthwhile.

Paul Caponigro

 

To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.
Harry Callahan

 

Well, I don’t think there’s any such thing as teaching people photography, other than influencing them a little. Or maybe inspire them, or perk them up. People have to be their own learners. They have to have a certain talent, and kind of an eye.

Imogen Cunningham

 

We are only beginning to learn what to say in a photograph. The world we live in is a succession of fleeting moments, any one of which might say something significant.
Alfred Eisenstaedt

 

Keep it simple.
Alfred Eisenstaedt

 

When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.
Alfred Eisenstaedt

 

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.
Dorothea Lange

 

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
Dorthea Lange

 

I think you have to have a real point of view that’s your own. You have to tell it your way. And, I think that it’s a mistake to shoot for a specific magazine’s point of view because it’s never going to be as good. You have to shoot for yourself and photograph the way you believe it.
Mary Ellen Mark

 

I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody’s face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways.
Duane Michals

 

There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece. We know that’s impossible. You have to compose by the seat of your pants.
Arnold Newman

 

And now, I feel at 85, I really feel that I’m just ready to start.
Gordon Parks

 

I had a tremendous interest and I just kept plugging away and knocking at doors, you know, seeking out encouragement where I could get it.
Gordon Parks

 

A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.
Irving Penn

 

Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.
Eliot Porter

You learn to see by practice. It’s just like playing tennis, you get better the more you play. The more you look around at things, the more you see. The more you photograph, the more you realize what can be photographed and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.
Eliot Porter

 

I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record shot’. My first thought is always of light.
Galen Rowell

 

I find it some of the hardest photography and the most challenging photography I’ve ever done. It’s a real challenge to work with the natural features and the natural light.
Galen Rowell

 

I like to feel that all my best photographs had strong personal visions and that a photograph that doesn’t have a personal vision or doesn’t communicate emotion fails.
Galen Rowell

 

Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.
W. Eugene Smith

 

Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavors.
W. Eugene Smith


Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
W. Eugene Smith

 

I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.
Edward Steichen

 

No photographer is as good as the simplest camera.
Edward Steichen

 

Once you really commence to see things, then you really commence to feel things.
Edward Steichen

 

Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.
Edward Steichen

 

I do not object to retouching, dodging. or accentuation as long as they do not interfere with the natural qualities of photographic technique.
Alfred Stieglitz

 

In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
Alfred Stieglitz

 

It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.
Paul Strand

 

The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.
Paul Strand

 

Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.
Paul Strand

 

I’ll go to do a shoot, I’ll spend five or six hours at the beach with people, and when people think I’m all out of film, then they really relax and I get my good pictures.
Jock Sturges

 

That’s my ambition: that you look at the pictures and realize what complex, fascinating, interesting people every single one of my subjects is.
Jock Sturges

 

The world is shrinking as we see more and more of it in the media, and the more we see of the world, the smaller we are, the more aware we are of how insignificant any one of us is.
Jock Sturges

 

If I had a picture of two handcuffed criminals being booked, I would cut the picture in half and get five bucks for each.
Weegee

 

People are so wonderful that a photographer has only to wait for that breathless moment to capture what he wants on film.
Weegee

 

Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.
Edward Weston

 

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.
Edward Weston

 

I see no reason for recording the obvious.
Edward Weston

 

I was extravagant in the matter of cameras – anything photographic – I had to have the best. But that was to further my work. In most things I have gone along with the plainest – or without.
Edward Weston

 

My own eyes are no more than scouts on a preliminary search, for the camera’s eye may entirely change my idea.
Edward Weston

 

Photography suits the temper of this age – of active bodies and minds. It is a perfect medium for one whose mind is teeming with ideas, imagery, for a prolific worker who would be slowed down by painting or sculpting, for one who sees quickly and acts decisively, accurately.
Edward Weston

 

Photography to the amateur is recreation, to the professional it is work, and hard work too, no matter how pleasurable it my be.
Edward Weston

 

There is nothing like a Bach fugue to remove me from a discordant moment… only Bach holds up fresh and strong after repeated playing. I can always return to Bach when the other records weary me.
Edward Weston

 

A very receptive state of mind… not unlike a sheet of film itself – seemingly inert, yet so sensitive that a fraction of a second’s exposure conceives a life in it.
Minor White

 

Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence.
Minor White

 

The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I’m searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible.
Galen Rowell

 

The pictures are there, and you just take them.
Robert Capa (1913-1954)

 

It’s not always easy to stand aside and be unable to do anything except record the sufferings around one.
Robert Capa (1913-1954)


This war is like an actress who is getting old. It is less and less photogenic and more and more dangerous.
Robert Capa (1913-1954)


If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.
Robert Capa (1913-1954)


Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.
Henri Cartier-BressonĀ  (1908 -2004)


Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.
Henri Cartier-BressonĀ  (1908 -2004)

 

It is the gift of seeing the life around them clearly and vividly, as something that is exciting in its own right. It is an innate gift, varying in intensity with the individual’s temperament and environment.
Bill Brandt (1904-1983)

 

It’s always more comforting to know that in any given corner of any room or any location you’re on, you can make a photograph that you’ll appreciate.
Herb Ritts (1952-2002)

 

The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer.
Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

 

At first I wasn’t sure that I had the talent, but I did know I had a fear of failure, and that fear compelled me to fight off anything that might abet it.
Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

 

When I have sex with someone I forget who I am. For a minute I even forget I’m human. It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)

 

I don’t know why my pictures come out looking so good. I just don’t get it.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)

 

The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)


One must ease the public into it – that’s an art in itself.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)

 

I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)


Happiness No, it’s not there for me.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)


This AIDS stuff is pretty scary. I hope I don’t get it.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)