Charlie Rose interviews photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson offers marvelous observations on the art of photography.

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Here’s a selection of  my favorite quotes by photographer Henri Cartier Bresson.

“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

“A photograph is neither taken or seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you. One must not take photos.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes a precise moment in time.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“The picture is good or not from the moment it was caught in the camera.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“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.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.”

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

“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

“Memory is very important, the memory of each photo taken, flowing at the same speed as the event. During the work, you have to be sure that you haven’t left any holes, that you’ve captured everything, because afterwards it will be too late.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines, and values is for me the essence of photography; composition should be a constant of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Reality offers us such wealth that we must cut some of it out on the spot, simplify. The question is, do we always cut out what we should?” ­- Henri Cartier-Bresson

“While we’re working, we must be conscious of what we’re doing.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“A photographer must always work with the greatest respect for his subject and in terms of his own point of view.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

“The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“As time passes by and you look at portraits, the people come back to you like a silent echo. A photograph is a vestige of a face, a face in transit. Photography has something to do with death. It’s a trace.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s own originality. It is a way of life.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Thinking should be done before and after, not during photographing.”- Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“The intensive use of photographs by mass media lays ever fresh responsibilities upon the photographer. We have to acknowledge the existence of a chasm between the economic needs of our consumer society and the requirements of those who bear witness to this epoch. This affects us all, particularly the younger generations of photographers. We must take greater care than ever not to allow ourselves to be separated from the real world and from humanity.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“You just have to live and life will give you pictures.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Of course it’s all luck.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

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ArrangingPDF

How you present your work may be almost as important as what work you present. It’s the art of sequencing or arranging. And it is an art, which involves specific techniques that can be learned. What are some of the guiding principles involved? Here are a few.

Sequence matters. Start strong. Finish strong. Make getting there interesting. Whether it’s a symphony, a novel, or an exhibit. It’s good advice for arranging any creative product. To sequence a project, you can use the metaphor of building a fence. The strongest pieces can be thought of as posts. The less strong pieces can be thought of as rails. You want to start and end with very strongest pieces to create a strong structure. You want to periodically reinforce runs of less strong units with one or more stronger units. You don’t want long runs of rails without posts or the structure may fail. A fence made only of posts becomes something else entirely, a wall with no variation or grace. The number of strong pieces you include determines how long a fence will be, though the number of other images you include may modify length somewhat.

Remember the golden rules of marketing; primacy (the first thing you see), recency (the last thing you see ), and frequency (the number of times you see the same or similar things). Frequency is rated first. Primacy is rated second. Recency is rated third. They’re all important. It’s all about effective memorable communication. So, the most important thing is to have a consistent body of work (frequency). The next most important thing is to start with your strongest work (primacy). The next most important thing is to finish strong (recency).

You can use classic story telling devices (like structure, proximity, pace, length, etc) to strengthen any image presentation and bring to light subtext in and connections between images that give work added depth and dimension.

In short, arranging matters.

Learn more about the art of Arranging in this free PDF.

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This collection of videos offers glimpses into the mind of photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

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Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by Joel Meyerowitz.

“We think of photography as pictures. And it is. But I think of photography as ideas. And do the pictures sustain your ideas or are they just good pictures? I want to have an experience in the world that is a deepening experience, that makes me feel alive and awake and conscious.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“I think about photographs as being full, or empty. You picture something in a frame and it’s got lots of accounting going on in it–stones and buildings and trees and air – but that’s not what fills up a frame. You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“What I think is so extraordinary about the photograph is that we have a piece of paper with this image adhered to it, etched on it, which interposes itself into the plane of time that we are actually in at that moment. Even if it comes from as far back as 150 years ago, or as recently as yesterday, or a minute before as a Polaroid color photograph, suddenly you bring it into your experience. You look at it, and all around the real world is humming, buzzing and moving, and yet in this little frame there is stillness that looks like the world. That connection, that collision, that interfacing, is one of the most astonishing things we can experience.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“[The small camera] taught me energy and decisiveness and immediacy … The large camera taught me reverence, patience, and meditation.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“I find it strangely beautiful that the camera with its inherent clarity of object and detail can produce images that in spite of themselves offer possibilities to be more than they are … a photograph of nothing very important at all, nothing but an intuition, a response, a twitch from the photographer’s experience.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“Making any statement of your feelings is risky. It’s just like making pictures.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“A lot of what I am looking for is a moment of astonishment,” he says. “Those moments of pure consciousness when you involuntarily inhale and say ‘Wow!’ – Joel Meyerowitz

“We all experience it. Those moments when we gasp and say, “Oh, look at that.” Maybe it’s nothing more than the way a shadow glides across a face, but in that split second, when you realize something truly remarkable is happening and disappearing right in front of you, if you can pass a camera before your eye, you’ll tear a piece of time out of the whole, and in a breath, rescue it and give it new meaning.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“I have to say, taking photographs is such an instantaneous act. The recognition and the acting on the recognition, depending on your equipment, is close to instantaneous.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“Photography is a response that has to do with the momentary recognition of things. Suddenly you’re alive. A minute later there was nothing there. I just watched it evaporate. You look one moment and there’s everything, next moment it’s gone. Photography is very philosophical.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“They [photographs] teach you about your own unraveling past, or about the immediacy of yesterday. They show you what you look at. If you take a photograph, you’ve been responsive to something, and you looked hard at it. Hard for a thousandth of a second, hard for ten minutes. But hard, nonetheless. And it’s the quality of that bite that teaches you how connected you were to that thing, and where you stood in relation to it, then and now.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“You know, he (Winogrand) set a tempo on the street so strong that it was impossible not to follow it. It was like jazz. You just had to get in the same groove… You know, if you hesitate, forget it. You don’t have to learn to unleash that. It was like having a hair trigger. Sometimes walking down the street, wanting to make a picture, I would be so anticipatory, so anxious, that I would just have to fire the camera, to let fly a picture, in order to release the energy, so that I could recock it. That’s what you got from Garry. It came off him in waves – to be keyed up, eager, excited for pictures in that way.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“It comes down to risk, again and again. If you risk coming out, if you risk making pictures that aren’t good, you might discover something in a photograph that is the key. The very doorway to your own interest.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“’Tough’ meant it was an uncompromising image, something that came from your gut, out of instinct, raw, of the moment, something that couldn’t be described in any other way. So it was tough. Tough to like, tough to see, tough to make, tough to understand. The tougher they were the more beautiful they became.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“I had to learn to identify what it was exactly I was responding to, and if my response was any good. The only way to do that is to take pictures, print them, look hard at them and discuss them with other people.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“I believe that street photography is central to the issue of photography—that it is purely photographic, whereas the other genres, such as landscape and portrait photography, are a little more applied, more mixed in the with the history of painting and other art forms.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“What is the art experience about? Really, I’m not interested in making “Art” at all. I never, ever, think about it. To say the word “Art”, it’s almost like a curse on art. I do know that I want to try to get closer to myself. The older I get, the more indications I have about what it is to get closer to yourself. You try less hard. I just want to be.” – Joel Meyerowitz

“It’s (photography) me asking myself: ‘How interesting is this medium? And how interesting can I make it for me? And, by the way, who the fuck am I?’”

Read more Photographers’s Quotes here.

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AestheticsOfPrintPDF

Half of the battle is knowing how to do something. The other half is knowing what to do. When it comes to making fine photographic prints, the road has been well mapped by our predecessors. One of the best ways to educate yourself about great print quality is to look at a number of great prints (directly rather than through reproduction). And, to keep on looking. Education, or enrichment, is a dynamic, evolving, lifelong process. Every time you look, sensitively with awareness, your vision grows. There’s always something more to learn.

A combination of elements (and their relationships to one another) is often evaluated when assessing print quality. Speaking very broadly, you could say, it’s all about believably reproducing detail. Focus, depth of field, high dynamic range, tonality, color balance, elimination of process artifacts all play a role. So do the selection of appropriate materials, scale, presentation and contextualization. There’s a lot more to it than you might think at first and though there are no hard and fast rules there are conventions everyone should be mindful of. There’s also a lot of room for creativity.

All of this is expanded and detailed in this free PDF – The Aesthetics Of Print.

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The life and work of photographer W Eugene Smith is revealed in this in-depth documentary.

Read 26 Quotes By W Eugene Smith here.

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Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes by photographer W. Eugene Smith.

“Available light is any damn light that is available!” – W. Eugene Smith

“Negatives are the notebooks, the jottings, the false starts, the whims, the poor drafts, and the good draft but never the completed version of the work… The print and a proper one is the only completed photograph, whether it is specifically shaded for reproduction, or for a museum wall.” – W. Eugene Smith

“[I crop ] for the benefit of the pictures. The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.” – W. Eugene Smith

“Hardening of the categories causes art disease.” – W. Eugene Smith

“Most photographers seem to operate with a pane of glass between themselves and their subjects. They just can’t get inside and know the subject.” – W. Eugene Smith

“What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling?” – W. Eugene Smith

“Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavors.” – W. Eugene Smith

“The purpose of all art is to cause a deep and emotion, also one that is entertaining or pleasing. Out of the depth and entertainment comes value.” – W. Eugene Smith

“I’ve never made any picture, good or bad, without paying for it in emotional turmoil.” – W. Eugene Smith

“An artist must be ruthlessly selfish.” – W. Eugene Smith

“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

“My pictures are complex and so am I.” – W. Eugene Smith

“I am constantly torn between the attitude of the conscientious journalist who is a recorder and interpreter of the facts and of the creative artist who often is necessarily at poetic odds with the literal facts.” – W. Eugene Smith,

“Up to and including the moment of exposure, the photographer is working in an undeniably subjective way. By his choice of technical approach, by the selection of the subject matter…and by his decision as to the exact cinematic instant of exposure, he is blending the variables of interpretation into an emotional whole.” – W. Eugene Smith

“The journalistic photographer can have no other than a personal approach; and it is impossible for him to be completely objective. Honest—yes. Objective—no.” – W. Eugene Smith

“I didn’t write the rules. Why would I follow them?” – W. Eugene Smith

“I am an idealist. I often feel I would like to be an artist in an ivory tower. Yet it is imperative that I speak to people, so I must desert that ivory tower. To do this, I am a journalist—a photojournalist. But 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, above all honesty with myself…” – W. Eugene Smith

“My photographs at best hold only a small length, but through them I would suggest and criticize and illuminate and try to give compassionate understanding.” – W. Eugene Smith

“The photographer must bear the responsibility for his work and its effect …[for] photographic journalism, because of its tremendous audience reached by publications using it, has more influence on public thinking than any other branch of photography.” – W. Eugene Smith

“… to became neighbours and friends instead of journalists. This is the way to make your finest photographs.” – W. Eugene Smith

“I try to take what voice I have and I give it to those who don’t have one at all.” – W. Eugene Smith

“I would that my photographs might be, not the coverage of a news event, but an indictment of war.” – W. Eugene Smith

“Many claim I am a photographer of tragedy. In the greater sense I am not, for though I often photograph where the tragic emotion is present, the result is almost invariably affirmative.” – W. Eugene Smith

“I can’t stand these damn shows on museum walls with neat little frames, where you look at the images as if they were pieces of art. I want them to be pieces of life!” – W. Eugene Smith

“…and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future – causing them caution and remembrance and realization.” – W. Eugene Smith

“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.” – W. Eugene Smith

Read more Photographer’s Quotes here. 

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