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Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Keith Carter.

“At a fundamental level photography is much like pointing, and all of us occasionally point at things: look at that, look at that sailboat, look at that tree, etc. etc.” – Keith Carter

“The raw materials of photography are light and time and memory.” – Keith Carter

“Sharpness is overrated.” – Keith Carter

“When I started using the extreme short depth of field and single point of focus, I was trying to replicate my changing eyesight. We have binocular vision; one eye perceives space from the other. I don’t experience a scene visually at F32. It’s more like F1.4.” – Keith Carter

“I think the equipment you use has a real, visible influence on the character of your photography. You’re going to work differently, and make different kinds of pictures, if you have to set up a view camera on a tripod than if you’re Lee Friedlander with handheld 35 mm rangefinder. But fundamentally, vision is not about which camera or how many megapixels you have, it’s about what you find important. It’s all about ideas.” – Keith Carter

“In the history of photography, one process has always replaced another. The tumultuous realignment that’s going on in the photography now is really just a natural evolution. The irony is that none of the processes that have been replaced have disappeared. More people than ever are practicing every approach to shooting and printing.” – Keith Carter

“I love the history of photography and one process has always replaced another. However, very, very few have disappeared.” – Keith Carter

“I think there is an element of magic in photography — light, chemistry, precious metals — a certain alchemy. You can wield a camera like a magic wand almost. Murmur the right words and you can conjure up proof of a dream. I believe in wonder. I look for it in my life every day; I find it in the most ordinary things.” ― Keith Carter

“I think you go through stages in making art. In the first stages you get excited about the medium itself. It offers a very immediate kind of gratification. Here is what I see and here is a picture of it. Then it gets harder. Then you find somebody whose work excites you, such as Robert Frank, and it opens up new doors and so you replicate them or you do work that is influenced by them. I think all of that is very, very useful in terms of your own growth. Because if you have anything at all, you will only do that for a while, and then you use what you have learned and you try to turn it into your own voice. That is where things really get hard. If you can make that leap, then you start making personal work. Personal work is where most people stop. Most people stop when it gets personal. I will tell you my greatest secret, and I probably shouldn’t, but I will tell you anyway. Here is what I think and feel and I hope it is useful to you. If you really want to do something special, if you want to make poetry, and granted most people don’t, but if you do, you have to go beyond what is merely personal. You have to reach a level in the human psyche where we are all the same. That is the real journey.” ― Keith Carter

“I live in a small place more urban centers make fun of, where art is not necessarily the first thing in most people’s minds, and I thought: Gee, I don’t need to go in some exotic locations to make a meaningful picture, why don’t I just play like I came from China and I was transplanted into this culture, with this people and this language and this landscape and this architecture and this music and all these animals I’ve never seen before… why don’t I try to belong to my own place and make pictures that I really would like to make. I started doing that and it was the first time that anybody started paying attention to my work.” – Keith Carter

“I like small things, I like small moments that are almost elliptical, that are not necessarily linear; they’re natural things that happen in the world, but if you look at them from a slight angle there’s more than meets the eye.” – Keith Carter

“I don’t just look at the thing itself or at the reality itself; I look around the edges for those little askew moments — kind of like what makes up our lives – those slightly awkward, lovely moments.” – Keith Carter

“I don’t think science is necessarily incompatible with mystical or spiritual sensibilities. I often weigh them equally in my thinking, which sometimes finds itself into the work.” – Keith Carter

“I like to work in the real world, so I do a lot of searching or just simple looking. But I’m not above tweaking reality and making something up. I don’t think there are any rules in art. It’s not so much what you see as it is the significance you, the artist, see in it.” – Keith Carter

“I’m fond of implied narratives, oblique angles, and leaving a little room for the viewer to finish a picture.” – Keith Carter

“Your ideas come out of the way you conduct your life.” – Keith Carter

“Making these photographs has often seemed to me like a kind of dance. Often I have danced badly and the world has fallen apart at my feet. But sometimes the dance has gone well and my subject and I have moved together as if with shared purpose.” – Keith Carter

“I like what Wallace Stevens said: “Poetry must almost successfully resist intelligence.” I just change the word “poetry” to “my photographs.” – Keith Carter

“Poetry at least in my own life, is really about your own mortality. Everything in poetry makes me think of my mortality. It is not a dark thing in life; it prepares you for the graceful things that happen in your life. It gives me a license to make any kind of picture I want with great courage.” – Keith Carter

“You are lucky if you have one or two epiphanies in your life, particularly a creative one.” – Keith Carter

“I don’t know if I can articulate how I feel. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would make it here.” – Keith Carter

“How do you find a way to say what an extraordinary experience it is to be alive in this world? That is the kind of subject matter I try to work with.” – Keith Carter

“I want to be made better personally. That is the gig.” – Keith Carter

Read my Conversation With Keith Carter.

View 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

Photographer Richard Benson celebrates his friend Lee Friedlander’s photographs.

Read my conversation with Richard Benson.

Read my conversation with Lee Friedlander.

View 12 Great Photographs By Lee Friedlander

View The Self-Portraits Of Lee Friedlander.

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Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

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Lee Friedlander’s inventive and complex series of self-portraits are both stimulating and challenging.

View 12 Great Photographs By Photographer Lee Friedlander.

Read 15 Quotes By Lee Friedlander here.

Read my Conversation With Lee Friedlander here.

View 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers here.

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View more 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

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Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Lee Friedlander.

“The world makes up my pictures, not me.”

“ … photographs are so loaded with information. They’re remarkable. As I said, you get both the tree and the forest.” – Lee Friedlander

“It fascinates me that there is a variety of feeling about what I do. I’m not a premeditative photographer. I see a picture and I make it. If I had a chance, I’d be out shooting all the time. You don’t have to go looking for pictures. The material is generous. You go out and the pictures are staring at you.” – Lee Friedlander

“The idea that the snapshot would be thought of as a cult or movement is very tiresome to me and, I’m sure, confusing to others. It’s a swell word I’ve always liked. It probably came about because it describes a basic fact of photography. In a snap, or small portion of time, all that the camera can consume in breadth and bite and light is rendered in astonishing detail: all the leaves on a tree, as well as the tree itself and all its surroundings.” – Lee Friedlander

“I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and seventy-eight trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It’s a generous medium, photography.” – Lee Friedlander

“I suspect it is for one’s self-interest that one looks at one’s surroundings and one’s self. This search is personally born and is indeed my reason and motive for making photographs. The camera is not merely a reflecting pool and the photographs are not exactly the mirror, mirror on the wall that speaks with a twisted tongue. Witness is borne and puzzles come together at the photographic moment which is very simple and complete. The mind-finger presses the release on the silly machine and it stops time and holds what its jaws can encompass and what the light will stain.” – Lee Friedlander

“I take more to the subject than to my ideas about it. I am not interested in any idea I have had, the subject is so demanding and so important.” – Lee Friedlander

“Sometimes just the facts of the matter make it interesting.” – Lee Friedlander

“When you take a picture you haven’t a clue that it is going to be what it is. Maybe you have a clue but you don’t really know. There are too many possibilities. Part of the game is how many balls you can juggle. It is to me. When you are 12 you can juggle two. Maybe when you are 50 you can juggle five. That is an interesting concept to me: how much I can put in and still make it pull together?” – Lee Friedlander

“If one really knew what one was doing, why do it? It seems to me if you had the answer why ask the question? The thing is there are so many questions.” – Lee Friedlander

“Anything that looks like an idea is probably just something that has accumulated, like dust. It looks like I have ideas because I do books that are all on the same subject. That is just because the pictures have piled up on that subject. Finally I realize that I am really interested in it. The pictures make me realize that I am interested in something.” – Lee Friedlander

“Photographs also show the way that the camera sees. It’s not just me or you or anybody else. The camera does something that is different from our own setting.” – Lee Friedlander

“… a mysterious intersection of chance and attention that goes well beyond the existential surrealism of the ‘decisive moment’.” – Lee Friedlander

“With a camera like that [a Leica 35mm rangefinder] you don’t believe you’re in the masterpiece business. It’s enough to be able to peck at the world.” – Lee Friedlander

“I always wanted to be a photographer. I was fascinated with the materials. But I never dreamed I would be having this much fun. I imagined something much less elusive, much more mundane.” – Lee Friedlander

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

Read my conversation with Lee Friedlander.

Learn more about James Nachtwey here.

View 12 Great Photographs here.

Read 22 Quotes By Photographer James Nachtwey here.

Read our conversation here.

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You’re sure to find many insights in this collection of quotes by photographer James Nachtwey.

“There is a job to be done…to record the truth. I want to wake people up!” – James Nachtwey

“When the truth is spoken, it doesn’t need to be adorned. It just needs to be simply stated, and often it only needs to be said once.” – James Nachtwey

“I try to use whatever I know about photography to be of service to the people I’m photographing.” – James Nachtwey

“The worst thing is to feel that as a photographer I am benefiting from someone else’s tragedy. This idea haunts me. It is something I have to reckon with every day because I know that if I ever allow genuine compassion to be overtaken by personal ambition I will have sold my soul. The stakes are simply too high for me to believe otherwise.” – James Nachtwey

“I attempt to become as totally responsible to the subject as I possibly can. The act of being an outsider aiming a camera can be a violation of humanity. The only way I can justify my role is to have respect for the other person’s predicament. The extend to which I do that is the extent to which I become accepted by the other, and to that extent I can accept myself.” – James Nachtwey

“I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.” – James Nachtwey

“I want my pictures to cut through political abstractions… and make a connection on a human level.” – James Nachtwey

“I want to record history through the destiny of individuals who often belong to the least wealthy classes. I do not want to show war in general, nor history with a capital H, but rather the tragedy of a single man, of a family.” – James Nachtwey

“Photojournalists know the horrors of war can only be exposed at close range. Kodak Film.” – James Nachtwey

“For me, the strength of photography lies in its ability to evoke a sense of humanity. If war is an attempt to negate humanity, then photography can be perceived as the opposite of war and if it is used well it can be a powerful ingredient in the antidote to war.” – James Nachtwey

“I used to call myself a war photographer. Now I consider myself as an antiwar photographer.” – James Nachtwey

“I want to record history through the destiny of individuals who often belong to the least wealty classes. I do not want to show war in general, nor history with a capital H, but rather the tragedy of a single man, of a family.” – James Nachtwey

“I want my work to become part of our visual history, to enter our collective memory and our collective conscience. I hope it will serve to remind us that history’s deepest tragedies concern not the great protagonists who set events in motion but the countless ordinary people who are caught up in those events and torn apart by their remorseless fury. I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.” – James Nachtwey

“The greatest statesmen, philosophers, humanitarians … have not been able to put an end to war. Why place that demand on photography?” – James Nachtwey

“Is it possible to put an end to a form of human behavior which has existed throughout history by means of photography? The proportions of that notion seem ridiculously out of balance. Yet, that very idea has motivated me.” – James Nachtwey

“But everyone cannot be there, and that is why photographers go there – to show them, to reach out and grab them and make them stop what they are doing and pay attention to what is going on – to create pictures powerful enough to overcome the diluting effects of the mass media and shake people out of their indifference – to protest and by the strength of that protest to make others protest.” – James Nachtwey

“If there is something occurring that is so bad that it could be considered a crime against humanity, it has to be transmitted with anguish, with pain, and create an impact in people – upset them, shake them up, wake them out of their everyday routine.” – James Nachtwey

“I don’t believe there’s any such thing as objective reality. It’s only reality as we experience it.” – James Nachtwey

“If I’m feeling outraged, grief, disbelief, frustration, sympathy, that gets channeled through me and into my pictures and hopefully transmitted to the viewer.” – James Nachtwey

“None of the editors I’ve worked with have ever asked me to pull my punches. They’ve never asked me to give them anything other than my own interpretation of events.” – James Nachtwey

“I don’t think tragic situations are necessarily devoid of beauty.” – James Nachtwey

“It is very hard to say where you’re going until you get there. That kind of thing is based very much on instinct. As a photographer, one of the most important lessons I have learnt is that you have to learn to listen to and trust your own instinct. It has helped to guide me – this far at least.” – James Nachtwey

Read more from The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

View more in 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers.

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“Photography teaches us to see, and we can see whatever we wish.  When I take a photograph, I make a wish.  I was always looking for beauty.” – George Tice

“I try to take my interests and make them my work.” – George Tice

“As I progressed further with my project, it became obvious that it was really unimportant where I chose to photograph. The particular place simply provided an excuse to produce work… you can only see what you are ready to see – what mirrors your mind at that particular time.” – George Tice

“It’s never as good the second time. Things don’t get better. You can’t always go back, a lot of it has been erased. The photograph is a record of it having existed.” – George Tice

“It takes the passage of time before an image of a commonplace subject can be assessed. The great difficulty of what I attempt is seeing beyond the moment; the everydayness of life gets in the way of the eternal.” – George Tice

“The thing itself photographed becomes less interesting when you go back to it years later but I think the photograph becomes more important later when the reality has passed.” – George Tice

“My taking pictures means I’m taking a series of pictures which become an essay and then get extended into a book. That’s what’s exciting, to take an idea and work it through to completion.” – George Tice

“I don’t speak emotionally about my pictures. That’s for other people to do. I will say that I love my photographs. That’s what keeps me going.” – George Tice

Read my conversation with George Tice.

View 12 Great Photographs Collections.

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Enjoy this collection of quotes by master photographer Richard Misrach.

“I’ve come to believe that beauty can be a very powerful conveyor of difficult ideas. It engages people when they might otherwise look away.” – Richard Misrach

“To me, the work I do is a means of interpreting unsettling truths, of bearing witness, and of sounding an alarm. The beauty of formal representation both carries an affirmation of life and subversively brings us face to face with news from our besieged world.” – Richard Misrach

“I’m not interested into victim photography. Photographing people suffering and putting it on a museum wall is too weird.” – Richard Misrach

“The very act of representation has been so thoroughly challenged in recent years by postmodern theories that it is impossible not to see the flaws everywhere, in any practice of photography. Traditional genres in particular—journalism, documentary studies, and fine-art photography—have become shells, or forms emptied of meaning.” – Richard Misrach

“In spite of recent trends towards fabricating photographic narratives, I find, more than ever, traditional photographic capture, the ‘discovery’ of found narratives, deeply compelling.” – Richard Misrach

“The desert … may serve better as the backdrop for the problematic relationship between man and the environment. The human struggle, the successes … both noble and foolish, are readily apparent in the desert. Symbols and relationships seem to arise that stand for the human condition itself.” – Richard Misrach

“People have responded to the pictures I make as mystical things, and they somehow carry the illusion further thinking that the place is this mystical, magical place. The desert is also a very barren place, a very lonely place, a very boring, uneventful place.” – Richard Misrach

“The one thing that seems to be consistent through all my work that I like, and I experimented a lot, is the viewer is allowed to meditate on something that normally we don’t stop and stare at, whether it’s people or a cactus.” – Richard Misrach

“One of the things that was really influential early on was Ezra Pound’s Cantos, one poem he worked on for 50 years. It’s epic. I had a great deal of difficulty understanding it. One of the problems was you’d be reading along in English and he would move to a Chinese ideogram or French–he actually used seven different languages in a given poem. And for somebody who’s not fluent in different languages it has the impact of rupturing your way of understanding something. It was very purposeful on his part to put these obstacles of language in there so that you become conscious of the whole system. You don’t get a neat narrative or a neat poem. Once you run into these obstacles of language you have to stop and think about other things. So, for me, in putting The Playboys or The Paintings or these language things in with these more conventional landscapes they inform each other. It does scatter, it does rupture, the way cubist paintings would. Each gives you a different way to approach something and sheds light on everything else.” – Richard Misrach

“Our experience with knowledge, the way we know things, is not that neat. It doesn’t fit into a grand narrative, the way we’ve been taught to read.” – Richard Misrach

“I am not unaware that I have the mindset, as contradictory as it may sound, to discover in the world what I am in fact looking for. Perhaps the best pictures are a seamless hybrid of discovery and construction.” – Richard Misrach

“Whatever else a photograph may be about, it is always about time.” – Richard Misrach

“I think this is the most exciting time in the history of photography. Technology is expanding what photographers can do, like the microscope and the telescope expanded what scientists could do.” – Richard Misrach

Read my conversation with Richard Misrach.

View 12 Great Photographs By Richard Misrach here.

View 4 videos with Richard Misrach here.


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