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Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Emmet Gowin.

“Photography is a tool for dealing with things everybody knows about but isn’t attending to. My photographs are intended to represent something you don’t see.” – Emmet Gowin

“All important pictures embody something that we do not yet understand.” – Emmet Gowin

“The challenge of photography is to show the thing photographed so that our feelings are awakened and hidden aspects are revealed to us.” – Emmet Gowin

“As a good picture would come, I would never know exactly what I had done. When you did see it, it would strike you as a great surprise – who did that? How did it happen? Being surprised by your own work makes you both less serious and have serious reverence.” – Emmet Gowin

“Of course, this is one of the really important things about art, that you can make more than you can understand at the moment the thing is being made. But the gap between what we recognize inside ourselves – our feelings- and our ability to trust ourselves and to trust exposing ourselves to those ideas, can be great.” – Emmet Gowin

“It might take us a lifetime to find out what it is we need to say. Most of us fall into where our feelings are headed while we’re quite young. But the beauty of all this uncertainty would be that in the process of exhausting all the possibilities, we might actually stumble unconsciously into the recognition of something that’s useful to us, that speaks to a deep need within ourselves. At the same time, I like to think that in order for any of us to really do anything new, we can’t know exactly what it is we are doing.” – Emmet Gowin

“The authentic thing is to follow your heart, your instincts, your emotions. If you located yourself in an idea, your life would be lived very sadly.” – Emmet Gowin

“The picture is like a prayer, an offering, and hopefully an opening through which to seek what we don’t know, or already know and should take seriously.” – Emmet Gowin

“This is the gift of the landscape photograph, that the heart finds a place to stand.” – Emmet Gowin

“I feel that whatever picture an artist makes it is in part a picture of himself — a matter of identity.” – Emmet Gowin

“What’s great is that the picture is already taken before it goes public. It’s in secret. The trust that develops from such a habit engenders risk, and you realize you’re not as vulnerable as you thought. Once you become comfortable with being more truthful about who you are, the easier it is, the prouder you become. That’s the way it unfolded for us.” – Emmet Gowin

“Twentieth-century art has allowed me to see things in a cryptic way. I love the butterfly’s wings, which disappear when folded and when open leave this brilliant, intense pronouncement of nature, ‘Here I am.’” – Emmet Gowin

“I am pessimistic about a picture’s power to be the emissary of just one thing. What I hope is that the picture says, “Here I am, this is what I am like,” and the person seeing the picture says in return, ‘You know a lot but you don’t know half of what I know.’” – Emmet Gowin

“I was going round the world searching for an interesting place, when I realized that the place that I was in was already interesting.” – Emmet Gowin

“I made 10 times as many images as the other students,” he says of the early years. “I destroyed all those negatives except a few. I did it as a reminder that you can’t afford to waste time: take it seriously.” – Emmet Gowin

Read a conversation with Emmet Gowin here.

Watch a video on Emmet Gowin here.

Find more quotes in The Essential Collection Quotes By Photographers.


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