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Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Michael Kenna.

“I do have strong convictions and political opinions, but I don’t think it’s necessary to imbue my photographic work with them. I use photography as a vessel for visual material to flow through, to encourage conversation with the viewer. I try to present a catalyst and invite viewers to tell their own stories.” – Michael Kenna

“I find that when one has worked long enough, technical know-how becomes almost irrelevant. In photography, it’s not difficult to reach a technical level where you don’t need to think about the technique any more. I think there is far too much literature and far too much emphasis upon the techniques of photography. The make of camera and type of film we happen to use has little bearing on the results.” – Michael Kenna

“I don’t have any particular method to my madness. When I decide “what” I want to photograph, I choose the appropriate locations. Sometimes I choose “where” I want to photograph, then look for the “what” when I get there! Simple – no magic involved. I have a theory, which seems to work for me, that the best ideas come through thinking about something else! One of my hobbies is long distance running. I find there is something therapeutic and hypnotic in this activity, similar to practicing landscape photography. While thinking about one thing, and being active at the same time, other ideas float in and out. These floating ideas usually turn out to be the catalysts for my future projects.” – Michael Kenna

“I sincerely believe it is normal and healthy to study the work of other artists, and even imitate other’s efforts, as a means to explore one’s personal vision. It has been thus throughout history in all mediums of creative expression. One advances by “standing on the shoulders of giants”. The perspective becomes a lot clearer from such high ground. On my own journey, I have actively tried to see through the eyes of many well known photographers, including but not limited to Atget, Bernhard, Brandt, Callahan, Cartier Bresson, Giacomelli, Misrach, Scheeler, Steiglitz, Sudek, Sugimoto, Weston (Brett) and many others. I have gone to places where they have photographed and have consciously and unconsciously emulated their style and subject matter. Other artists, in many mediums, have greatly helped my own development as a photographer. As small tokens of appreciation, I have often credited those influences openly by including their names in the titles of work. I have done this out of basic courtesy and respect. I do not feel that I have ever stolen from these artists.” – Michael Kenna

“I think style is just the end result of personal experience. It would be problematic for me to photograph in another style. I’m drawn to places and subject matter that have personal connections for me and I photograph in a way that seems right. Where does it all come from, who knows?” – Michael Kenna

“I often think of my work as visual haiku. It is an attempt to evoke and suggest through as few elements as possible rather than to describe with tremendous detail.” – Michael Kenna

“It’s possible to think of photography as an act of editing, a matter of where you put your rectangle pull it out or take it away. Sometimes people ask me about films, cameras and development times in order to find out how to do landscape photography. The first thing I do in landscape photography is go out there and talk to the land – form a relationship, ask permission, it’s not about going out there like some paparazzi with a Leica and snapping a few pictures, before running off to print them.” – Michael Kenna

“The first time, I usually skim off the outer layer and end up with photographs that are fairly obvious. The second time, I have to look a little deeper. The images get more interesting. The third time it is even more challenging and on each subsequent occasion, the images should get stronger, but it takes more effort to get them.” – Michael Kenna

“Getting photographs is not the most important thing. For me it’s the act of photographing. It’s enlightening, therapeutic and satisfying, because the very process forces me to connect with the world. When you make four-hour exposures in the middle of the night, you inevitably slow down and begin to observe and appreciate more what’s going on around you. In our fast-paced, modern world, it’s a luxury to be able to watch the stars move across the sky.” – Michael Kenna

“Life is about turning up. The more you get yourself out there, whether you wake up at 5:00 a.m. to pouring rain or not, the more you’re likely to experience the wonderful happenings that are going on all around you. Sometimes the most interesting visual phenomena occur when you least expect it. Other times, you think you’re getting something amazing and the photographs turn out to be boring and predictable. So I think that’s why, a long time ago, I consciously tried to let go of artist’s angst, and instead just hope for the best and enjoy it. I love the journey as much as the destination. If I wasn’t a photographer, I’d still be a traveler.” – Michael Kenna

“There are many characteristics associated with night photography that make it fascinating. We are used to working with a single light source, the sun, so multiple lights that come from an assortment of directions can be quite surreal, and theatrical. Drama is usually increased with the resulting deep shadows from artificial lights. These shadows can invite us to imagine what is hidden. I particularly like what happens with long exposures, for example, moving clouds produce unique areas of interesting density in the sky, stars and planes produce white lines, rough water transforms into ice or mist, etc. Film can accumulate light and record events that our eyes are incapable of seeing. The aspect of unpredictability inherent with night exposures can also be a good antidote for previsualization…” – Michael Kenna

“When exposures last hours rather than fractions of a second, there is much time for watching. Sometimes it is a basic concern for security but at others it is a more meditational activity. I watch the sky and imagine what patterns the clouds and stars will make on my film. I watch the water, the leaves on the trees, passing cars, changing shadows, smoke from chimneys, whatever is around. Wind, rain, mist, etc., all have effects on the eventual image. We live pretty fast-paced lives so it is a luxury to be able to slow down and better appreciate some of the more subtle effects of nature that we can so easily miss or take for granted.” – Michael Kenna

“Photographing at night can be fascinating because we lose some of the control over what happens in front of the camera. Over a period of time the world changes; rivers flow, planes fly by, clouds pass and the earth’s position relative to the stars is different. This accumulation of time and events, impossible for the human eye to take in, can be recorded on film. For the photographer, real can become surreal, which is exciting. During the day, when most photographs are made, scenes are usually viewed from the vantage-point of a fixed single light source, the sun. At night the light can come from unusual and multiple sources. There can be deep shadows which act as catalysts for our imagination. There is often a sense of drama, a story about to be told, secrets revealed, actors about to enter onto the stage. The night has vast potential for creativity.” – Michael Kenna

“I gravitate towards places where humans have been and are no more, to the edge of man’s influence, where the elements are taking over or covering man’s traces.” – Michael Kenna

“Parks and gardens are the quintessential intimate landscapes. People use them all the time, leaving their energy and memories behind. It’s what’s left behind that I like to photograph.” – Michael Kenna

“In my photographic work I’m generally attracted to places that contain memories, history, atmospheres and stories. I’m interested in the places where people have lived, worked and played. I look for traces of the past, visual fingerprints, evidence of activities – they fire my imagination and connect into my own personal experiences. Using the analogy of the theater, I would say that I like to photograph the empty stage, before or after the performance, even in between acts. I love the atmosphere of anticipation, the feeling in the air that events have happened, or will happen soon…” – Michael Kenna

“Perhaps most intriguing of all is that it is possible to photograph what is impossible for the human eye to see – cumulative time.” – Michael Kenna

“Nothing is ever the same twice because everything is always gone forever, and yet each moment has infinite photographic possibilities.” – Michael Kenna

View 12 Great Photographs By Michael Kenna.

Read a conversation with Michael Kenna.

View a video with Michael Kenna here.

Explore quotes in The Essential Collection Quotes By Photographers.

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Enjoy this collection of photographs by Emmet Gowin.

Read a collection of quotes by Emmet Gowin here.

Read a conversation with Emmet Gowin here.

Watch a video with Emmet Gowin here.

View more 12 Great Photographs collections here.

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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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Enjoy this collection of photographs by Eliot Porter.

Read a collection of quotes by Eliot Porter here.

View a documentary on Eliot Porter here.

View more 12 Great Photographs collections here.

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“Every photograph that is made whether by one who considers himself a professional, or by the tourist who points his snapshot camera and pushes a button, is a response to the exterior world, to something perceived outside himself by the person who operates the camera.” – Eliot Porter

“Photographs are believed more than words; thus they can be used persuasively to show people who have never taken the trouble to look what is there.” – Eliot Porter

“Photography is a strong tool, a propaganda device, and a weapon for the defense of the environment…and therefore for the fostering of a healthy human race and even very likely for its survival.” – Eliot Porter

“I don’t think it’s necessary to put your feelings about photography in words. I’ve read things that photographers have written for exhibitions and so forth about their subjective feelings about photography and mostly I think it’s disturbing. I think they’re fooling themselves very often. They’re just talking, they’re not saying anything.” – Eliot Porter

“I do not photograph for ulterior purposes. I photograph for the thing itself — for the photograph — without consideration of how it may be used.” – Eliot Porter

“You learn to see by practice. It’s just like playing tennis, you get better the more you play. The more you look around at things, the more you see. The more you photograph, the more you realize what can be photographed and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.” – Eliot Porter

“Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.” – Eliot Porter

“But before all else a work of art is the creation of love. Love for the subject first and for the medium second. Love is the fundamental necessity underlying the need to create, underlying the emotion that gives it form, and from which grows the unfinished product that is presented to the world. Love is the general criterion by which the rare photograph is judged. It must contain it to be not less than the best of which the photographer is capable.” – Eliot Porter

“My emotions, instincts, and interests are all with nature.” – Eliot Porter

“Much is missed if we have eyes only for the bright colors. Nature should be viewed without distinction… She makes no choice herself; everything that happens has equal significance. Nothing can be dispensed with. This is a common mistake that many people make: They think that half of nature can be destroyed — the uncomfortable half — while still retaining the acceptable and the pleasing side.” – Eliot Porter

View 1 2 Great Photographs By Eliot Porter.

View a documentary on Eliot Porter here.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

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Here’s a collection of my favorite photographs by John Pfahl here.

Find out more about John Pfahl here.

View more 12 Great Photographs collections here. 

 

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Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer John Pfahl.

“People think the camera steals their soul. Places, I am convinced, are affected in the opposite direction. The more they are photographed (or drawn and painted) the more soul they seem to accumulate.” – John Pfahl

“It would have been possible to structure my photographs in such a way that no indicators of the present were discernible. However, I wanted to incorporate into the project as a whole the jostling of time-frames I would feel as I set up my tripod on various rocky promontories.” – John Pfahl

“I often wondered why I was attracted to certain landscapes and not others and why my photographs (and depictions by other artists) looked the way they did, Archetypes imprinted on my mind started me on a search …” – John Pfahl

“Somehow I felt that if Fox Talbot had had more time and more drawing talent, he would have filled in the interval between his two drawings and made a complete panorama. Now, 163 years later, I was able to use his great invention to elaborate on his youthful dream of capturing and fixing the fleeting image. In doing so, I may also have added another little bit to the soul of this extraordinary place.” – John Pfahl

“I have been using the art of photography to research the ways in which the pictorial strategies of the Nineteenth Century color the way in which the American landscape is apprehended by today’s viewers.” – John Pfahl

“Photography, of course, is the perfect medium for the investigation. It can reveal the truth of present day specifics and particularities, while at the same time, by conscious choice of lighting and pictorial structure, suggest the aesthetic legacy of the past.” – John Pfahl

“It is not without trepidation that I have appropriated the codes of “the Sublime” and “the Picturesque” in my work. After all, serious photographers have spent most of this century trying to expunge such extravagances from their art. The tradition lives on, mostly in calendars and picture postcards. I was challenged to rework and revitalize that which had been so roundly denigrated.” – John Pfahl

“While making my “picture window” photographs, I came to think that every room was like a gigantic camera forever pointed at the same view.”” – John Pfahl

“Strangers with puzzled looks were amazingly cooperative in letting me into their rooms with my photographic gear. They let me take down the curtains, wash the windows, and rearrange the furniture. Often, too, they expressed their desire to share their view with others, as if it were a non-depletable treasure.
I liked the idea that my photographic vantage points were not solely determined by myself. They were predetermined by others, sometimes years earlier, and patiently waited for me to discover them.” – John Pfahl

“As Estelle Jussim wrote, it is almost impossible for a single photograph to state both the problem and the solution.” – John Pfahl

“I became wary of simple interpretations that assumed fixed and final meanings.” – John Pfahl

“I want to make photographs whose very ambiguity provokes thought, rather than cuts it off prematurely. I want to make pictures that work on a more mysterious level, that approach the truth by a more circuitous route.” – John Pfahl

Find out more about John Pfahl here.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

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You’ll be inspired by these great photographers and these collections of their classic photographs.

This list continues to grow. So come back!

Ansel Adams

John Paul Caponigro

Paul Caponigro

Emmet Gowin

Michael Kenna

Josef Koudelka

Jay Maisel

Joel Meyerowitz

John Pfahl

Eliot Porter

Sebastiao Salgado

Edward Steichen

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Joyce Tenneson

Huntington Witherill

View more 12 Great Photographs collections here. 

Explore The Essential Collection Of Photographers’ Quotes.

View Essential Photographers’ Documentaries.

Read my Photographers On Photography Conversations.

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Here’s a collection of my favorite photographs by Josef Koudelka.

Read a collection of quotes by Josef Koudelka here.

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Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by Josef Koudelka.

“What matters most to me is to take photographs; to continue taking them and not to repeat myself. To go further, to go as far as I can.” – Josef Koudelka

“I am not interested in repetition. I don’t want to reach the point from where I wouldn’t know how to go further. It’s good to set limits for oneself, but there comes a moment when we must destroy what we have constructed.” – Josef Koudelka

“If I am dissatisfied, it’s simply because good photos are few and far between. A good photo is a miracle.” – Josef Koudelka

“I have to shoot three cassettes of film a day, even when not ‘photographing’, in order to keep the eye in practice.” – Josef Koudelka

“Sometimes I photograph without looking through the viewfinder. I have mastered that well enough, it is almost as if I were looking through it.” – Josef Koudelka

“When I photograph, I do not think much. If you looked at my contacts you would ask yourself: “What is this guy doing?” But I keep working with my contacts and with my prints, I look at them all the time. I believe that the result of this work stays in me and at the moment of photographing it comes out, without my thinking of it.” – Josef Koudelka

“I don’t pretend to be an intellectual or a philosopher. I just look.” – Josef Koudelka

“I photograph only something that has to do with me, and I never did anything that I did not want to do. I do not do editorial and I never do advertising. No, my freedom is something I do not give away easily.” – Josef Koudelka

“I don’t like captions. I prefer people to look at my pictures and invent their own stories.” – Josef Koudelka

“I never stay in one country more than three months. Why? Because I was interested in seeing, and if I stay longer I become blind.” – Josef Koudelka

“My photographs are proof of what happened. When I go to Russia, sometimes I meet ex-soldiers… They say, ‘We came to liberate you….’ I say: ‘Listen, I think it was quite different. I saw people being killed.’ They say: No. We never… no shooting. No. No.’ So I can show them my Prague 1968 photographs and say, ‘Listen, these are my pictures. I was there.’ And they have to believe me.” – Josef Koudelka

“The changes taking place in this part of Europe are enormous and very rapid. One world is disappearing. I am trying to photograph what’s left. I have always been drawn to what is ending, what will soon no longer exist.” – Josef Koudelka

“It never seemed important to me that my photos be published. It’s important that I take them. There were periods where I didn’t have money, and I would imagine that someone would come to me and say: ‘Here is money, you can go do your photography, but you must not show it.’ I would have accepted right away. On the other hand, if someone had come to me saying: ‘Here is money to do your photography, but after your death it must be destroyed,’ I would have refused.” – Josef Koudelka

“When I first started to take photographs in Czechoslovakia, I met this old gentleman, this old photographer, who told me a few practical things. One of the things he said was, “Josef, a photographer works on the subject, but the subject works on the photographer.” – Josef Koudelka

“I would like to see everything, look at everything, I want to be the view itself.” – Josef Koudelka

View 12 Great Photographs By Josef Koudelka.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers here.


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