9.13.2011

forty quotes about photography



"one should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind.” ~dorothea lange
plums on a window sill



your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.
~paul strand

in my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.
~emile zola

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

as i have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. i see something special and show it to the camera. a picture is produced. the moment is held until someone sees it. then it is theirs.
~sam abell

there are always {at least} two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
~ansel adams

my portraits are more about me than they are about the people i photograph.
~richard avedon

when i say i want to photograph someone, what it really means is that i’d like to know them. anyone i know i photograph.
~annie leibovitz

you don’t take a photograph, you make it.
~ansel adams

you don’t take a photograph. you ask, quietly, to borrow it.
~author unknown

there are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
~ansel adams

if i knew how to take a good photograph, i’d do it every time.
~robert doisneau

one photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photos out of focus are a style.
~author unknown

every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, i assume that it isn’t a very interesting photograph. if it were, they would have more to say.
~author unknown

i never have taken a picture i’ve intended. they’re always better or worse.
~diane arbus

it can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.
~timothy allen

i am an amateur and i intend to stay that way for the rest of my life.
~andre kertesz

i take photographs with love, so i try to make them art objects. but i make them for myself first and foremost—that is important.
~jacques-henri lartigue

a great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.
~ansel adams

i think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, i don’t find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges.
~william albert allard

a ming vase can be well-designed and well-made and is beautiful for that reason alone. i don’t think this can be true for photography. unless there is something a little incomplete and a little strange, it will simply look like a copy of something pretty. we won’t take an interest in it.
~john loengard

when words become unclear, i shall focus with photographs. when images become inadequate, i shall be content with silence.
~ansel adams

i’m not a particularly verbose person. i think that’s why i like taking pictures... they speak for themselves.
~jeb dickerson

if i could tell the story in words, i wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.
~lewis hine

look, i’m not an intellectual...i just take pictures.
~helmut newton

the camera can photograph thought.
~dirk bogarde

don’t shoot what it looks like. shoot what it feels like.
~david alan harvey

whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.
~walker evans

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

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

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-bresson

a good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
~eudora welty

a good photographer must love life more than he does photography.
~joel strasser

a photograph must be more interesting than the thing photographed.
~gary winogran

beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
~matt hardy

skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.
~percy w. harris

buying a nikon doesn’t make you a photographer. it makes you a nikon owner.
~author unknown

no place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.
~robert adams

there will be times when you will be in the field without a camera. and, you will see the most glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that you have ever witnessed. don’t be bitter because you can’t record it. sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is!
~degriff

nothing happens when you sit at home. i always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…i just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
~elliott erwitt

photography, like alcohol, should only be allowed to those who can do without it.
~walter sickert

at forty-two i decided to become a photographer because it offered a means of creative thought and action. i didn’t rationalize this, i just felt it intuitively and followed my intuition, which i have never regretted.
~wynn bullock

of course, it’s all luck.
~henri cartier-bresson


so, if you have been reading here for a while, you might have noticed that i love quotes about photography... especially when said by respected and renowned photographers. and you might have also noticed that several of my favorite quotes about photography are in the side bar of my blog {and one at the bottom}. if they appear there, they are among some of my favorite photography quotes that i've ever come across. {you should read those, too!}

but there are so many others that i have come to like over the years, and i thought it would be fun to list forty of them for my thirty days of forty post today.

the reasons i like to read quotes about photography {or rather, what other accomplished photographers have said about their craft} are numerous.

sometimes, it's because what they said makes me think. other times it's because it makes me want to approach photography differently, or in a more advanced way then i tend to... i don't mean technically, but rather from a "think outside the box" standpoint. sometimes i agree with what is said. sometimes i don't. sometimes the words are profound. sometimes they are funny to me {like the "one photo out of focus" quote above... that's so me!}.


often, i will like a quote about photography, because it validates my style, my skill level, my motives and motivation for taking pictures, and my philosophy about it. and basically, reading what others have said about this art form is just plain inspirational.
plums on a window sill {two}

anyway, i just thought i'd share some of those quotes, although i am sure that if you like photography as much as i do, you have already seen many of these. and there are so many other good ones... too many to fit into this list.

what about you? do you have a favorite photography quote or several? are they in this list? or are they quotes that have not been mentioned here?

9 comments:

Steve Gravano said...

Dorothea Lange is my favorite photographer. Her vision and sensibility was incredible. But, Ansel Adams, "you don't take a photograph, you make it." has always been a favorite of mine. Thank for the list it's great!

sharonheldman said...

my favorite photography quote:
"do you know how much film costs?!"

Stacey said...

LOVE this list, Georgia. So much truth in so many of these quotes. Loved reading them all and resonated with a lot of them. Have so many favorites, but right now I like the "my portraits are more about me than they are about the people i photograph." Lately I feel like I've learned so much about MYSELF through my photography. I'm always amazed at what God is teaching me through it all.

Next week I get to see you and that sweet baby, yay!

georgia b. said...

yay, stacey!!!
i can't believe it's almost here already!
i'm so looking forward to meeting you in person!
i'm glad some of these quotes resonated with you!

hahaha, mama.
that's too funny.

steve, i really like ever lange quote i have ever read. you would think it would have made me curious enough to check out her work, but i have not as of yet. maybe i will do that today. i'm glad you liked the quotes.

Jean said...

Georgia,
I was on the streets of Boston in the Italian district and saw a group of men in their shirt sleeves, all white shirts, talking loud and gesturing in what I imagined was a typical Italian conversation. I took the picture and all I got was men in shirt sleeves. Without my memory, the picture was only 2 dimensional. But the memory is still vivid and the photo takes me back.
I'll find it and scan it in to show you.
Jean

georgia b. said...

i'd love to see that, jean! please do!

Oliag said...

I love to collect photography quotes too and you happen to have one of my favorites on your sidebar...by eliot erwin.

Another favorite is "which of my photographs is my favorite? the one I'm going to take tomorrow." -imogen cunningham

lissa said...

I like the ansel adams about silence, that is my favorite from the bunch & also helmut newton about not being an intellectual. true enough. one doesn't always has to think when taking a shot.

Amelia said...

I like things that make me think too. What a lot of inspiration here :)

Amelia.x