Quotes

These are a collection of quotes about photography, including a few musings of my own:

First… the immortal Ansel Adams:

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.”

“There are no rules for good photographs; there are only good photographs.”

“Chance favors the prepared mind”

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art”

“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept”

“Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.”

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”

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

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.”

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration”

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter”

“I tried to keep both arts alive, but the camera won. I found that while the camera does not express the soul, perhaps a photograph can!”

“These people live again in print as intensely as when their images were captured on old dry plates of sixty years ago… I am walking in their alleys, standing in their rooms and sheds and workshops, looking in and out of their windows. Any they in turn seem to be aware of me.”

“There are worlds of experience beyond the world of the aggressive man, beyond history, and beyond science. The moods and qualities of nature and the revelations of great art are equally difficult to define; we can grasp them only in the depths of our perceptive spirit.”

“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.”

“Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.”

“When I’m ready to make a photograph, I think I quite obviously see in my minds eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the word. I’m interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without.”

“A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.”

“Myths and creeds are heroic struggles to comprehend the truth in the world.”

“It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to the spectators.”

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”

“Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.”

“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.”

“The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.”

“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.”

“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.”

“We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.”

“The only things in my life that compatibly exists with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit.”

“In my mind’s eye, I visualize how a particular… sight and feeling will appear on a print. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph. It is an intuitive sense, an ability that comes from a lot of practice.”

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Quotes by Others

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
Dorothea Lange

“One should not only photograph things for what they are, but for what else they are.”
Minor White

“One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.”
Annie Leibovitz

“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”
Jim Richardson

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”
Yousuf Karsh

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
Alfred Eisenstaedt

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”
Paul Caponigro

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”
Imogen Cunningham

“No place is boring if you’ve had a full night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.”
Robert Adams

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
Diane Arbus

“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”
Edward Weston

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“If your pictures are not good enough you are not close enough.”
Robert Capa

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”
George Eastman

“The eye should learn to listen before it looks.”
Robert Frank

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Elliott Erwitt

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
David Alan Harvey

“The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.”
William Thackeray

“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.”
Lewis Hine

“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”
Abraham Lincoln

“We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning, we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night, we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more.”
John O’Donohue

“Art is the signature of civilizations.”
Beverly Sills

“It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top.”
Arnold Bennett

“Insight is the first condition of Art.”
George Henry Lewes

“An artist must know how to convince others of the truth of his lies.”
Pablo Picasso

“Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see”
Paul Klee

“Personally, I think the emotional content of an image is more important than the image being technically perfect. While I do everything I can to achieve a technically sound image, ultimately it’s the atmosphere and ‘story’ of the scene that holds the final image together. I certainly wouldn’t discard an image because it has minor imperfections.”
Antony Spencer

“The most common mistake is not paying attention to the background… In wildlife photography the backgrounds are just as important as the subject itself – if the background is no good, I often don’t even bother to take the shot. Not paying attention to distractions inside the frame falls into the same category.”
Marsel Van Oosten

“Photograph what interests you and not what you think people will want to see. The more personal the pictures, the stronger they will be”
Dominic Nahr

“Photography isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so take your time with it. Things will come together if enough time has been put into them.”
Dominic Nahr

“Practice using your camera the way you would a musical instrument. When you’re confronted by a once in a lifetime opportunity you’ll be able to handle the pressure”
Simon Butterworth

“You have to ‘work’ for a good shot. Just holding up your camera and snapping what’s directly in front of you without even bending your knees or standing on tiptoes is the domain of smartphones, not photography.”
Basil Pao

“All art is selected detail”
Paul Cézanne

“Creativity is not a work of art; it is the art of work,”
Georgia O’Keeffe

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Quotes About Nature:

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
John Muir

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Quotes by Me

“A picture is worth a thousand words..

A great picture is worth more than words…

It’s an emotion”