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short quotes about photography

Applied in the context of a well written piece of research a quote can add weight to a discussion. I have chosen to reference the well known and the obscure in the hope that you will be intrigued enough to find out more about those whose words resonate with you.

I’ve seen plenty of other blog posts like this, and the quotations they often use bore me. They have little depth and barely touch the surface of photographic quality that history is littered with. They often also have unknown or anonymous quotations, which for academic purposes is useless. Go forth, and be inspired!

“Nothing is more hateful to me than photography coated with gimmicks, poses and false effects” – August Sander

“One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again.” – Alexander Rodchenko

“Nature educates us into beauty and inwardness and is a source of the most noble pleasure.” – Karl Blossfeldt

“Artistic professionalism cannot survive anymore. If it is new art and that which we call POETISM (the art of life, the art of being alive and living life), it must ultimately be as self-evident, pleasurable and understandable as sport, love, wine and all other types of delicacies. It cannot be a mere occupation, or trade, but rather a common need. No individual life, if it is lived decently — that is, in laughter, happiness, love and contentment — can be without it. Professional art is a fallacy and, to a certain extent, an anomaly. The artistic work cannot be a product for business speculation nor should it be an object of dry, academic speculation. It is fundamentally a gift, or a game without obligations or consequences.” – Karel Teige

“…It makes no difference to me if the amateur uses oil and eraser or platinum …so long as he offers me a picture interpreting his feelings” – Robert Demachy

“Ars una, species mille – there is but one art with a thousand likenesses. And thus I view photography as but one of the many expressions of artistic feeling” – Frantisek Drtikol

“Photographers must learn not to be ashamed to have their photographs look like photographs” – Alfred Stieglitz

“Personal sympathy has helped me on very much. My husband from first to last has watched every picture with delight, and it is my daily habit to run to him with every glass upon which a fresh glory is newly stamped, and to listen to his enthusiastic applause. This habit of running into the dining-room with my wet pictures has stained such an immense quantity of table linen with nitrate of silver, indelible stains, that I should have been banished from any less indulgent household.” – Julia Margaret Cameron

“Impressionism has induced the study of what we see and shown us that we all see differently; it has done good to photography by showing that we should represent what we see and not what the lens sees . . . What do we see when we go to Nature? We see exactly what we are trained to see, and, if we are lucky, perhaps a little more but not much . . . We see what we are prepared to see and on that I base a theory that we should be very careful what we learn. – Henry Peach Robinson

“Many photographers think they are photographing nature when they are only caricaturing her.” – Peter Henry Emerson

“A perfect negative produces a perfect enlargement” – Drahomir Josef Ruzicka

“The slum is the measure of civilization” – Jacob Riis

“Photography is an empathy towards the world.” – Lewis Hine

“…I don’t like white paper backgrounds. A woman does not live in front of white paper. She lives on the street, in a motor car, in a hotel room.” – Helmut Newton

“The best zoom lens… is your feet.” – Fred Kautt

“Only photograph what you love.” – Tim Walker

“In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” – August Sander

“When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.” – Wynn Bullock

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

“Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure.” – Tony Benn

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

“I like to photograph anyone before they know what their best angles are.” – Ellen Von Unwerth

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

“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

“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

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

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting 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

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

“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” – Richard Avedon

“I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.” – Wayne Miller

“The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.” – Annie Leibovitz

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

“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” – Elliott Erwitt

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

“I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.” – Gilles Peress

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.” – Ambrose Bierce

“Photography is truth.” – Jean-Luc Godard

“The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.” – Scott Lorenzo

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” – Don McCullin

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

“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

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” – Andy Warhol

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” – Robert Frank

“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

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

“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” – Annie Leibovitz

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

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