50 Quotes About Photography

“If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it’s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.”

— Eve Arnold

 

“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth. ” 

― Richard Avedon

 

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

— Ansel Adams

 

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

– David Alan Harvey

 

“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”

— Alfred Stieglitz

 

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

— Aaron Siskind

 

“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.”

— Paul Strand

 

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”

— Ralph Hattersley

 

“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

 

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”

— Edward Steichen

 

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

— Jim Richardson

 

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.”

— Garry Winogrand

 

“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

 

“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

 

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

— Dorothea Lange

 

“Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.”

— Yousuf Karsh

 

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”

— Marc Riboud

 

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

— Ansel Adams

 

“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.”

– John Berger

 

“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.”

— Matt Hardy

 

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”

— Karl Lagerfeld

 

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

— Ansel Adams

 

“I never have taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.”

— Diane Arbus

 

“A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.” 

― George Bernard Shaw

 

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

— Yousuf Karsh

 

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.”

— Susan Meiselas

 

“Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.”

— Peter Adams

 

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” 

― Ted Grant

 

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” 

― Susan Sontag

 

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

― Ansel Adams

 

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” 

― Robert Frank

 

“A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.”

– Skyler Reid

 

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

― Ansel Adams

 

“In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv.” 

― Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

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

― Ansel Adams

 

“I guess I’ve shot about 40,000 negatives and of these I have about 800 pictures I like.”

– Harry Callahan

 

“A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second. ” 

― Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

 

“The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.”

– Robert Mapplethorpe

 

“I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.” 

― Nan Goldin

 

“To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” 

― Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind's Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

 

“To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.” 

― Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

“What's really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer. ” 

― William Albert Allard

 

“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

 

“Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.”

– Morley Baer

 

“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

 

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” — Robert Capa

 

“I think all art is about control – the encounter between control and the uncontrollable.”

– Richard Avedon

 

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”

– Ansel Adams

 

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

– Ansel Adams

 

“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