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Aphorisms, quotes, by photographers about photography

The recent post about John Berger got me thinking about the literature out there on photography, and while photographers are usually scoffed at as an illiterate bunch, the truth is they are more often quite eloquent writers and what they have to say about photography is usually much better than what is found in the dusty tomes of academic scholars.  So I thought I would kick off this thread with a series of my favorite quotes from Photographers, and see if any of you out there can use them, add to them, or care to comment.
(I should add that there a few quotes from artists in other fields but they seemed particularly apt, so I left them in)

Here goes:

Some people are creators, but I’m a discoverer.  I don’t believe in originality.  You take inspiration from whatever moves you, and you find your own voice in those things.
Jim Jarmusch

I can be an artist a posteriori, not a priori.

I believe that there is no person in the world that must be protected from pictures.  Everything that happens in the world must be shown and people around the world must have an idea of what’s happening to the other people around the world.
Sebastião Salgado

If you don’t ever make mistakes, you’re not trying.  You’re not playing at the edge of your ability.
Artie Shaw

It’s always seemed to  me that photography tends to deal with facts whereas film tends to deal with fiction.  The best example I know is when you go to the movies and you see two people in bed, you’re willing to put aside the fact that you perfectly well know that there was a director and a cameraman and assorted lighting people all in that room and the two people in bed weren’t really alone.  But when you look at a photograph, you can never put that aside.

For me the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture.  And more complicated.

I think that the camera is something of a nuisance in a way.  It’s recalcitrant.  It’s determined to do one thing and you may want to do something else.  You have to fuse what you want and what the camera wants.  It’s like a horse.

I hate the idea of composition.  I don’t know what good composition is. I mean I guess I must know something about it from doing it a lot and feeling my way into it and into what I like.  Sometimes for me composition has to do with a certain brightness or a certain coming to restness and other times it has to do with funny mistakes.  There’s a kind of righness and wrongness and sometimes I like rightness and sometimes I like wrongness.  Composition is like that.

The Chinese have a theory that you pass through boredom into fascination and I think it’s true.  I would never choose a subject for what it means to me or what I think about it.  You’ve just got to choose a subject, and what you feel about it, what it means, begins to unfold if you just plain choose a subject and do it enough.

The thing that’s important to know is that you never know.  You’re always sort of feeling your way.

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

 Ask yourself about the source in your artistic longings.  Why is it so necessary that you want to do your thing?  How strong is it?  Would you do it if it were forbidden?  Illegal, punishable?   Every work of art has its necessity; find out your very own.  Ask yourself if you would do it, if nobody would ever see it, if you would never be recompensed for it, if nobody ever wanted it.  If you come to a clear [yes], in spite of it, then go ahead and don’t doubt it anymore.
Ernst Haas

Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant.  We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing. . . .

To take photographs means to recognize—simultaneously and within a fraction of a second—both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning.  It is putting one’s head, one’s eyes, and one’s heart on the same axis.

The profession depends so much upon the relations the photographer establishes with the people he’s photographing, that a false relationship, a wrong word or attitude, can ruin everything.   When the subject is in any way uneasy, the personality goes away where the camera can’t reach it.  There are no systems, for each case is individual and demands that we be unobtrusive, though we must be at close range.  . . . If you have made yourself obvious, even just by getting your light meter out, the only thing to do is to forget about photography for the moment, and accommodatingly allow the children who come rushing at you to cling to your knees like burrs

Sometimes a single event can be so rich in itself and its facets that it is necessary to move all around it . . . for the world is movement, and you cannot be stationary in your attitude toward something that is moving.

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.  I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us, . . .  A balance must be established between these two worlds—the one inside us and the one outside us.  As a result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one.  And it is this world that we must communicate. 
Henri Cartier-Bresson

[A photograph has two decisive moments: one is the instant in which the exposure is made, and the other is the selection you make when you sort out your negatives.]
            Graciela Iturbide

“Every photograph is a fiction shown as if it were true . . . What counts is the control of the photographer to impose an ethical direction to this lie.  The good photographer is the one who deceives the truth well.”
            Joan Fontcuberta

I think you reveal yourself by what you choose to photograph, but I prefer photographs that tell more about the subject. . . . I think each photographer has a point of view and a way of looking at the world . . . that has to do with your subject matter and how you choose to present it.  What’s interesting is letting people tell you about themselves in the picture. 
Mary Ellen Mark

Like people and let them know it.

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.
 Robert Capa

I only know how to approach a place by walking.  For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown or the secret heart of the known awaits just around the corner.
  Alex Webb

There is no real warfare between the artist and the documentary photographer.  He has to be both.
  Dorothea Lange

We photojournalists are not changing the world.  All we can do is show why this world has to change, sometimes.

The more ambiguous a photograph is, the better it is.  Otherwise, it would be propaganda.
          Leonard Freed

If a picture is good, it tells many different stories.
          Josef Koudelka

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling.

I only use the camera like I use a tooth brush. it does the job.
       Don McCullin

Car le style, pour l’écrivain, . . . est une question non de technique mais de vision.
        Marcel Proust

I stopped writing  because I was repeating myself.  It is the beginning of the end when you discover you have style.
            Dashiell Hammett

[I am] always torn between the attitude of the journalist, who is a recorder of facts, and the artist, who is often necessarily at odds with the facts. My principle concern is for honesty, and above all honesty with myself.
            Eugene Smith

A photograph is a moral decision taken in one-eighth of a second.
            Salman Rushdie

. . . you need to be cynical about publishing in order not to be cynical about writing.

It’s hard to find the proper balance between the arrogance we need to keep on writing, the arrogance that assumes that we have something worth saying; . . . and the humility we also need in order to grow and develop, the humility that knows that we cannot nurture and refine our gifts without the help of others, that other people including editors can sometimes tell us things we need to hear. Too much arrogance and not enough humility and we close ourselves off from the world, and nothing new comes in and we eventually become imitators of ourselves, turning what at one time were discoveries into mannerisms. And too much humility and not enough arrogance and we lose our center of gravity and find ourselves at the mercy of everyone else’s opinion

Bishop writes that what we want from great art is the same thing necessary for its creation, and that is, a self-forgetful, perfectly useless concentration. We write, Bishop implies, for the same reason we read or look at paintings or listen to music: for the total immersion of the experience, the narrowing and intensification of focus to the right here right now, the deep joy of bringing the entire soul to bear upon a single act of concentration. It is self-forgetful even if you are writing about the self because you yourself have disappeared into the pleasure of making, your identity, the incessant transient noisy New York Stock Exchange of desires and commitments, ambitions, hopes, hates, appetites and interests have been obliterated by the rapture of complete attentiveness.

        Alan Shapiro

by Jon Anderson at 2005-12-02 09:50:29 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) St Domingo , Dominican Republic | Bookmark | | Report spam→

"To be or not to be. That is not really a question."—Jean-Luc Goddard! ;))))))—bob

by [former member] | 02 Dec 2005 11:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Jon: this is a great beginning…i’ll send some of my favorite tonight. :))))…I love the toothbrush quote…cheers, :))) bob

by [former member] | 02 Dec 2005 11:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
from a Polish interview with our fellow lightstalker Michael Ackerman:

INTERVIEWER: While meeting people at your slide shows, what do you cherish most?

ACKERMAN: A few drinks.

INTERVIEWER: When you work with young people at the photography workshops of different kind, what do you tell them is the most important in photography?

ACKERMAN: To make mistakes.

by [former member] | 02 Dec 2005 11:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Here is my all time favorite quote from a photographer…it comes from my 11 year old son, Dima. He, my wife Marina and I had been walking around at night, in Chinatown, photographing. Later, we developed my son’s film and prints. When I looked at his photographs, as always, I was astonished….at one point, I asked him the following:

BOB: Dima, sweetheart, why didn’t you focus your lens in these pictures?

DIMA: Focus, why? I don’t know, why do i have to focus..is it important?

that’s when he was 10….:))))..he, still, is my guru….

by [former member] | 02 Dec 2005 11:12 (ed. Dec 2 2005) | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
“Pictures can be either a mirror or a window, but the best are both.” David Alan Harvey

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 02 Dec 2005 12:12 | That would be telling, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hey Bob! Knew youwould like this.  The making mistakes theme is really an important one, or as Arbus put it, "I’ve never taken a picture I’ve intended; they are always better or worse." -which in a sense is another way of putting it.  I have to thank another LS member for getting me to think about that idea seriously though, Eric Wolf, because it came at just the right moment to make me stop fussing about all the techie stuff and get my priorities straight.  That is an important moment in one’s development, and something that cannot be learned in school.

The resistance of the object world, the fact that you ride that image like a runaway horse -
that for me is what shooting is all about.

by Jon Anderson | 02 Dec 2005 13:12 | St Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
As usual, Chauvel cuts to the chase.

"She wasn’t beautiful, but she was my first Lieutenant."

by [former member] | 02 Dec 2005 15:12 | Lausanne, Switzerland | | Report spam→
"Photography as a fad is well-nigh on its last legs, thanks principally to the bicycle craze."

Alfred Steiglitz (1864-1946) : "The Hand Camera – It’s Present Importance" American Annual of Photography, 1897.

by [former member] | 02 Dec 2005 16:12 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I love the Steiglitz quote. Here are a few, not all photographers. |

“Sometimes you have to play for a long time to be able to play like yourself.”- Miles Davis |

“Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes – just sometimes – one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness.” – W. Eugene Smith |

“The journey home is never a direct route: it is, in fact, always circuitous, and somewhere along the way, we discover that the journey is more significant than the destination, and that the people we meet along the way will be the traveling companions of our memories forever.” —
Up Country by Nelson DeMille, page 854, (last paragraph) |

“I don’t think people accept the fact that life dosn’t make sense. I think it makes people terribly uncomfortable.”—
David Lynch (via Stanley Kauffman, 10/29/02 New Republic, p28. |

“It’s great to have something new and exciting between your legs.” —Dan Gurney in reference to his motorcycle designed and built by him. Fortune Magazine. 2003 |

“The great Henry Aaron hit a home run 755 times in his career, but failed to do so almost 12,000 times.” — John Szarkowski on Garry Winogrand. |

Winogrand refused the role of philospher and critic and photographed, according to Szarkowski, “not to make good pictures, but through photography to know life.” |

“And never have I found the limits of photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold….” —-W. Eugene Smith, Aperture vol. 14, nos. 3-4, 1969 |

Exile is not a material thing,
it is a spiritual thing.
All the corners of the earth
are exactly the same.
And anywhere one can dream is good,
providing the place is obscure,
and the horizon is vast.
—-Victor Hugo |

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
—-Scott Adams, “The Dilbert Priniciple” |

Photography deals exquisitely with appearnaces, but nothing is as it appears to be.
—-Duane Michaels, American, b1932

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 02 Dec 2005 16:12 (ed. Dec 2 2005) | | Report spam→
"From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere."

Dr Seuss.

This is what keeps me going.

by Paul Treacy | 02 Dec 2005 18:12 (ed. Dec 2 2005) | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Some great quotes, keep ‘em coming.  John, you have some great stuff there — I have had a version of Scott Adams’ line in my scrap book for years, but in Spanish, and I never knew where it come from — actually I think it sounds better in Spanish.  I will have to find it and reproduce it here.  Also I love the Miles quote, that is very like him.  You know, it is said about him that for years he tried playing like Dizzy, but couldnt quite do it, and so he found his real voice by recognizing his limitations and capitalizing on them.  Miles was an incredibly smart guy. 

by Jon Anderson | 02 Dec 2005 19:12 | Gazcue, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Gary Winogrand, who was known for shooting a lot of frames, was once asked by a student if he ever worried about not getting a good shot because he was reloading with film.

Winogrand looked at the student and said:

"There are no good shots when I am reloading"

by [former member] | 02 Dec 2005 19:12 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
This is great! thanks you so much, Jon.
This is from my friend Antoine D’Agata
“…I try to distance myself from a certain type of documentary photography that often avails itself of symbols that are too easy to read and assimilate in order to present a complex reality in a balance that is endlessly discussed over and over between photography as an instrument of documentation and photography as being completely subjective. It isn’t the eye that photography poses on the world that interests me but its most intimate rapport with that world.The only photographs that truly exist are the « innocent » images. We find them in the family photo albums or in the police archives. Beyond serving as a simple documentation of reality or of a certain aesthetic sense, they attest to the role of the photographer, of his implication, of the authenticity of his position in that moment. The compositions of light, narrative, are no longer, for me, fundamental problems but superfluous lies. What interests me today in an image? The perspective that has justified the act of photography, the interference of the experience, of the ongoing scene, the texture, the material, the meaning of the self-portrait, of the individual, the incoherence of the unfolding sequence, the maniacal reconstruction of the random experience – the photographs, like words, are meaningless when isolated…To criticize in a coherent manner, the dominant image actually demands from a photo that it is lucid in the midst of its messy situation, from the experience between a glance and a good, hard look, the camera and the unconscious, in its fundamentally tainted rapport with reality and fiction.”

the master Robert Frank
“to show how I am, myself… to show my interior against the landscape I’m in�
“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.”
“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough – there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph.”
Robert Frank

by lina pallotta | 02 Dec 2005 20:12 | new york, United States | | Report spam→
"You really don’t know what you are building. You start in a journey but you don’t know where that journey is really going to end up"   Alex Webb

by Alex Reshuan | 02 Dec 2005 20:12 | Miami, United States | | Report spam→
“sharpness is a bourgeois concept” – Henri Cartier-Bresson in a conversation with Helmut Newton.

by Jethro Soudant | 02 Dec 2005 21:12 | Buffalo, NY, United States | | Report spam→
The Journey Is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon.

by lina pallotta | 02 Dec 2005 21:12 | new york, United States | | Report spam→
"Photography is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s own originality. It’s a way of life"  Henri Cartier-Bresson

by Alex Reshuan | 02 Dec 2005 23:12 | Miami, United States | | Report spam→
Gracias Jon, muy buenas tus citas, te dejan pensando…Aca te mando una de Susan Sontag (traducida por mi al castellano, ya que no pude conseguir la edicion en espanol de “On Photography” y la consegui en frances…seguro tu lo tienes en ingles…) “Las fotografias no han hecho jamas descubrir la fealdad a nadie. Pero muchos son aquellos a quienes les han hecho descubrir la belleza…es porque se encuentra que alguna cosa es bella que nace el impulso de hacer una foto…..el nombre con el que Fox Talbot registro la fotografoa en 1841 fue , del griego kalos, bello…….nadie grita <por dios, que feo es, tengo que sacar una foto! > E incluso si esa frase es pronunciada, en el fondo significaria < esa cosa fea…yo, la encuentro bella>” Hasta aqui la cita de Sontag, la que siempre me hizo pensar, sobre todo, cuando a veces, tenemos que hacer imagenes de lo feo, lo tragico, el sufrimiento, dolor, injusticia, etc…..por que lo hacemos?. La ultima frase de la cita me hace pensar sobre todo en las fotografias de Joel Peter Witkin, creo que la frase le cae como anillo al dedo….
PD: perdon por la falta de acentos, pero tengo miedo que aparezcan esos caracteres chinos …

by claudio gonzalez | 03 Dec 2005 00:12 | buenos aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
Jon, mi post era mas largo, pero no se porque una parte se quedo por el camino….en todo caso, la cita de Sontag de la que hablo esta al comienzo del capitulo “L’heroisme de la vision”, del libro “Sur la Photographie”…Claudio

by claudio gonzalez | 03 Dec 2005 00:12 | buenos aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
“The picture we make is never made for us alone; it is, and should be, a communication - to reach as many people as possible without dilution of quality or intensity…�
-Ansel Adams

Being a nature photographer Adams then went on to defend himself against those who complain that there are no people in his photographs…“There are always two people; the photographer and the viewer.”

One day I’ll have to test the reality of this and turn in landscapes to my photojournalism instructor.

by [former member] | 03 Dec 2005 01:12 | Reading, PA, United States | | Report spam→
It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are themselves.—
Carl Jung

by Dave Yoder | 03 Dec 2005 02:12 (ed. Dec 3 2005) | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
-Marcel Proust

by Dave Yoder | 03 Dec 2005 02:12 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. -Mark Twain

by Dave Yoder | 03 Dec 2005 02:12 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
With the exception of “Hammett” I controlled all my films and produced
or co-produced them all. So I can only blame myself for all mistakes, be
proud of some of my flops and suspicious of some of my successes.—Wim Wenders

by Dave Yoder | 03 Dec 2005 02:12 (ed. Dec 3 2005) | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
Not directly photography but I like it:
“…We take a tiny colony of soft corals from a rock in a little water world. And that isn’t terribly important to the tide pool. Fifty miles away the Japanese shrimp boats are dredging with overlapping scoops, bringing up tons of shrimps, rapidly destroying the species so that it may never come back, and with the species destroying the ecological balance of the whole region. This isn’t very important in the world. And thousands of miles away the great bombs are falling, and the stars are not moved thereby. None of it is important or all of it is.”

—John Steinbeck’s Log from the Sea of Cortez

by Dave Yoder | 03 Dec 2005 02:12 (ed. Dec 3 2005) | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
And for when I’m at the end of my rope:

“I was not daunted, I was bloodied but unbowed. When you have vision, and ideas and imagination, when you believe in yourself, defeat is nothing more than the foundation for victory. it’s nothing more than a signpost on the road to triumph.”

—Joe Frank

by Dave Yoder | 03 Dec 2005 02:12 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
What a start to the day!!!…. just read Proust, Twain, and Jung, with single liners that say it all, then Steinbeck with a perfect example!!… cheers Dave!!.. that’s put a spring in my step this morning…

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 03 Dec 2005 04:12 | That would be telling, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Dave, a great selection there, the Steinbeck was a wonderful surprise, and Mark Twain is perfect!  And Lina, thanks for the words from Antoine — the last words are particularly trenchant: " a photo that it is lucid in the midst of its messy situation, from the experience between a glance and a good, hard look, the camera and the unconscious, in its fundamentally tainted rapport with reality and fiction."  That not only sums up Antoine’s work beautifully, it  is a very apt description that is worth reflecting on.  I wonder though if that rapport with reality and fiction is fundamentally tainted — that is overstated, it seems to me.  I think a good photograph exists as a result of the tension between those two elements, and while an inauthentic photograph may be tainted as a result of mismanaging that  tension, the relation itself between fiction and reality is not a taint, and nor is the intervention of the photographer.   The position or perspective of the photographer at the moment of "intervening" and snapping a pic is certainly an important part of the image and its meaning, but I am not sure that it imposes a taint on the moment — though Antoine would probably insist it does and desire it should do so.   interesting as always.  The Robert Frank is a great addition too: "realism is not enough, there has to be vision."

by Jon Anderson | 03 Dec 2005 06:12 | Gazcue, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→

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

“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion…the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”
-Dorothea Lange

by Louisa Kirby | 03 Dec 2005 06:12 (ed. Dec 3 2005) | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Claudio, no hay que preocuparte por el idioma — la gente puede traducirlo si quiere.  Aqui se encuentra el dicho de Scott Adams, en Español:

"A la persona que se le permite cometer errores se le llama creativa.  Y artista a la que sabe con cuáles se queda."

suene mejor en español.

y aqui el poeta sublime, Antonio machado (solo porque me gusta tanto):

¿Para qué llamar caminos
a los surcos del azar?…
Todo el que camina anda,
como Jesús, sobre el mar.

by Jon Anderson | 03 Dec 2005 06:12 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
And one more nugget from the great composer, Erik Satie — which should be of special interest to those of us who have opted to live a precarious life:

"I call bourgeois anyone who renounces himself, the struggles of life, and love, for safety´s sake.  I call bourgeois anyone who puts anything above feeling."

by Jon Anderson | 03 Dec 2005 06:12 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
 Thank you Jon for Satie’s quote (one of my favorities composer). Here is another of my favorities

" It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear, But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears"   Gibran Khalil Gibran

by Alex Reshuan | 03 Dec 2005 08:12 | Miami, United States | | Report spam→
"No news is good news;no damn journalists is even better" WC Fields (I think)
"May you live in interesting times" Ancient Chinese curse
"The great challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism after you have lost your innocence." Bruce Springsteen

by Mikethehack | 03 Dec 2005 08:12 | | Report spam→
Jon, i love your thread! :))….and many of the quotes above…especially dig the Hines and the magisterial "wisdom" of Steiglitz …those damn, mo’-fo bicycles, indeed :))))))))-bob

by [former member] | 03 Dec 2005 10:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
I knew you would Bob.  Here is another:

"Le film, c’est le traveling"  (Jean-Luc Godard)

by Jon Anderson | 03 Dec 2005 11:12 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
cameras dont make good pictures, people do……………..

by Jack Watson | 03 Dec 2005 11:12 | Haifa, Israel | | Report spam→
In some way, a photo is like a stolen kiss. In fact a kiss is always stolen, even if the woman is consenting. With a photograph it’s the same: always stolen, and still slightly consenting.

Edouard Boubat

by Alex Reshuan | 05 Dec 2005 07:12 | Miami, United States | | Report spam→
the unimaginable is meant to be imagined…Coetze…..-boba

by [former member] | 05 Dec 2005 08:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→

Garry Winogrand – I have burning desire to see what something looks like photographed by me.

by Colin Pantall | 05 Dec 2005 08:12 | Bath, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Check out www.photoquotes.com

Garry Winogrand – I have burning desire to see what something looks like photographed by me.

by Colin Pantall | 05 Dec 2005 08:12 | Bath, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Colin that is a great resource!  Thanks for that.  But here is a Winogrand nugget that doesnt appear there:

"I look at the pictures I have done up to now, and they make me feel that who we are and how we feel and what is to become of us just doesn’t matter. Our aspirations and successes have been cheap and petty. I read the newspapers, the columnists, some books, I look at some magazines [our press]. They all deal in illusions and fantasies. I can only conclude that we have lost ourselves, and that the bomb may finish the job permanently, and it just doesn’t matter, we have not loved life."

That is from his Guggenheim application.

by Jon Anderson | 05 Dec 2005 09:12 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Jon: love that story about Winogrand…i read it in the book for his 1964 exhibition…i have the exhibition book and its one of my most cherished…….for me Winogrand’s "we have not loved life.." is one of the most wise and profound statements ive read from another photographer…its my modus operandi as well ;))))….cheers, bob

by [former member] | 05 Dec 2005 09:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Thanks for that Jon – lovely bit about illusions and fantasies and losing ourselves. Great stuff.

by Colin Pantall | 05 Dec 2005 10:12 | Bath, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Here are some more I found from the site Colin mentioned:

It is a peculiar part of the good photographer’s adventure to know where luck is most likely to lie in the stream, to hook it, and to bring it in without unfair play and without too much subduing it. James Agee

The ear tends to be lazy, craves the familiar and is shocked by the unexpected; the eye, on the other hand, tends to be impatient, craves the novel and is bored by repetition. -Wystan Hugh Auden

The illiterate of the future will not be the man who cannot read the alphabet, but the one who cannot take a photograph. But must we also count as illiterate the photographer who cannot read his own pictures? -Walter Benjamin

..a photography which is able to relate a tin of canned food to the universe, yet cannot grasp a single one of the human connections in which that tin exists; a photography which even in its most dreamlike compositions is more concerned with eventual saleability than with understanding… the true facts of this photographic creativity is the advertisement… -Walter Benjamin

The word ‘art’ is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one’s work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics. -Manuel Alvarez Bravo

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

   What you see is real – but only on the particular level to which you’ve developed your sense of seeing. You can expand your reality by developing new ways of perceiving. -Wynn Bullock

The satisfaction comes from working next to 500 photographers and coming away with something different. -David Burnett

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards. -Lewis Carroll

Photography is like life… What does it all mean? I don’t know – but you get an impression, a feeling…. An impression of walking through the street, walking through the park, walking through life. I’m very suspicious of people who say they know what it means. -Leonard Freed

 I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers. -Gandhi

Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy-the tone range isn’t right and things like that—but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention. -Elliott Erwitt

Making pictures is a very simple act. There is no great secret in photography…schools are a bunch of crap. You just need practice and application of what you’ve learned. My absolute conviction is that if you are working reasonably well the only important thing is to keep shooting…it doesn’t matter whether you are making money or not. Keep working, because as you go through the process of working things begin to happen. -Elliott Erwitt

In music I still prefer the minor key, and in printing I like the light coming from the dark. I like pictures that surmount the darkness, and many of my photographs are that way. It is the way I see photographically. For practical reasons, I think it looks better in print too. -W. Eugene Smith

In my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it. -Emile Zola

by Jon Anderson | 05 Dec 2005 10:12 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→

by Alexandre Vaz | 05 Dec 2005 10:12 | Lisbon, Portugal | | Report spam→

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



Adams, Ansel


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



Adams, Ansel


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



Adams, Ansel


A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.



Adams, Ansel



Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.



Adams, Scott



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.



Allard, William Albert


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.



Allard, William Albert


Maybe the judgment of whether something is art or not should come from the viewer and not the doer.



Babbitt, Alan



In contemplation, if a man begins with certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. 



Bacon, Francis



One picture is worth ten thousand words. Barna



Barnard, Frederick R.


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



Bernard Shaw, George



The war photographer’s most fervent wish is for unemplyment



Capa, Robert



If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.



Capa, Robert



A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.



Capra, Frank



To take photographs means to recognize — simultaneously and within a fraction of a second — both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


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.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


Think about the photo before and after, never during. The secret is to take your time. You mustn’t go too fast. The subject must forget about you. Then, however, you must be very quick.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


The photograph itself doesn’t interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


Photography is nothing—it’s life that interests me.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


In photojournalistic reporting, inevitably, you’re an outsider.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


Don’t use a flash out of respect for the natural lighting



Cartier-Bresson, Henri


Actually, I’m not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.



Cartier-Bresson, Henri



Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.



Cocteau, Jean



If I knew how to take a good photograph, I’d do it every time



Doisneau, Robert


What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are.



Eastman, George



Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.



Einstein, Albert



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



Eisenstaedt, Alfred



It’s about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.



Erwitt, Eliott


There are two kinds of photographers: those who compose pictures and those who take them. The former work in studios. For the latter, the studio is the world…. For them, the ordinary doesn’t exist: every thing in life is a source of nourishment.



Haas, Ernst



The limitations of photography are in yourself, for what we see is only what we are.



Haas, Ernst



I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.



Haas, Ernst



Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature.



Hoffer, Eric



It’s not an aperture, it’s an F-Hole. -Paul Liebhardt

by Morgan Hagar | 05 Dec 2005 22:12 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks Jon! That Ghandi quote made me giggle. Ohara said in one book, ‘I want people to get bored looking at it. When people get bored, that’s when the essential comes in’…. hmmmmm… I like Haas with ‘what we see is what we are’. It makes me consider the question of who shoots what and why.

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 06 Dec 2005 04:12 (ed. Dec 11 2005) | That would be telling, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
If God had wanted us to photograph with a 2 1/4 by 2 1/4 camera, he would have put eyes on our bellies

Cartier-Bresson, Henri


by Alex Reshuan | 06 Dec 2005 07:12 | Miami, United States | | Report spam→
"And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes…. …"……………&………. "Come forth, Lazarus! And he came fifth and lost the job."— Joyce

by [former member] | 08 Dec 2005 06:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
"The world I was trying to present was one where I would feel good, where people would be friendly, where I could find the tenderness I longed for. My photos were like a proof that such a world could exist."

"We find a backdrop and wait for the miracle"

Robert Doisneau

by Alex Reshuan | 08 Dec 2005 21:12 | Miami, United States | | Report spam→
I just read Harold Pinter’s Nobel lecture:
Art, Truth and Politics by Harold Pinter. This is only the beginning, look at the rest of it at: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1208-28.htm

“In 1958 I wrote the following:

‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost."

by lina pallotta | 08 Dec 2005 22:12 | new york, United States | | Report spam→
Harold Pinter 12/8/2005: “When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections….. it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.

”I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.

“If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man.”

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 10 Dec 2005 03:12 (ed. Dec 11 2005) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
" I always photographed with the idea that no one would be interested in my photos, that no one would pay me, that if I did something I only did it for myself."


by Alex Reshuan | 14 Dec 2005 21:12 | Guayaquil, Ecuador | | Report spam→
From a T-Shirt picked up in Tokyo about 20 years ago:

"The type of consciousness the photograph involves is indeed truly unprecedented, since it establishes not a consciousness of the being – there of the thing, which any could provoke – but an awareness of its having been there!"

Make of that what you will!

by Michael Cockerham | 16 Dec 2005 07:12 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
"No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen."  -minor white

by Adoniram | 16 Dec 2005 10:12 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
"Thats the only way to make good photos. To be close to and to love and respect the people youre photographing" – Nguyen Dinh Uu : Vietnam War photojournalist

"It is spiritless to think that you cannot attain to that which you have seen and heard the masters attain. The masters are men. You are also a man. If you think that you will be inferior in doing something, you will be on that road very soon.

Master Ittei said, ‘Confucius was a sage because he had the will to become a scholar when he was fifteen years old. He was not a sage because he studied later on.’ This is the same as the Buddhist maxim, ‘First intnention, then enlightment.’" – Hagakure : Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

by J. P. Pacquing | 16 Dec 2005 12:12 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
“my pictures are a means to stop time. Life moves on and I don’t know of any other way to hold on to it”
Cristobal Herrera Ulashkaevich

by Takuya | 19 Dec 2005 09:12 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→

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Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Jenny Lynn Walker, Homo Sapien Jenny Lynn Walker
Homo Sapien
London , United Kingdom
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Indianapolis, In , United States
Paul  Treacy, Photographer Paul Treacy
London , United Kingdom ( LGW )
lina pallotta, Photographer/Teacher lina pallotta
New York , United States
Alex Reshuan, Photographer Alex Reshuan
Guayaquil , Ecuador
Jethro Soudant, Photographer Jethro Soudant
Buffalo, Ny , United States
claudio gonzalez, Photojournalist claudio gonzalez
Buenos Aires , Argentina
Dave Yoder, Dave Yoder
Milan , Italy
Louisa Kirby, Louisa Kirby
Sydney , Australia
Mikethehack, Freelance thril performer Mikethehack
Freelance thril performer
Way Up My Own Ass , United Kingdom
Jack Watson, Photographer Jack Watson
Bronx, Nyc , United States
Colin Pantall, Photographer/Writer Colin Pantall
Bath , United Kingdom
Alexandre Vaz, Photographer Alexandre Vaz
Lisbon , Portugal ( LSB )
Morgan Hagar, Documentary Photographer Morgan Hagar
Documentary Photographer
Los Angeles, Ca , United States
Michael Cockerham, Documentalistic Bystander Michael Cockerham
Documentalistic Bystander
(Image Matters)
Cologne , Germany
Adoniram, Photographer Adoniram
Nyc , United States
J. P. Pacquing, J. P. Pacquing
New York City , United States
Takuya, Photographer Filmmaker Takuya
Photographer Filmmaker
Helsinki , Finland