Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Duane Michals.

“Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’; And then do it.” – Duane Michals

“Don’t try to be an artist. Find the thing within you that needs to be expressed. You might find it is art.” – Duane Michals

“I am an expressionist and by that I mean that I’m not a photographer or a writer or a painter or a tap dancer, but rather someone who expresses himself according to his needs.” – Duane Michals

“People believe in the reality of photographs, but not in the reality of paintings. That gives photographers an enormous advantage. Unfortunately, photographers also believe in the reality of photographs.” – Duane Michals

“Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.” – Duane Michals

“I never photograph sunsets and I never photograph moonrises. I’m not interested in what things look like.” – Duane Michals

“You can never capture a person in picture, never. You might get an interesting expression or gesture. I almost never research a picture subject ahead of time. I think Karsh is full of baloney. Can you imagine spending a whole week out in La Jolla with Jonas Salk soaking up his ambiance, then wind up making him look as if he’s in the studio in Ottawa with his thumb under his chin?” – Duane Michals

“Because of my involvement with my photographs, it is difficult for me really to see them objectively. Talking about them is like talking about myself. The only real idea that I have about them is that they are essentially snapshots. For snapshots, I feel, often have an inherent simplicity and directness that I find beautiful. The roots of my photographs are in this tradition.” – Duane Michals

“However, I think that the photographer must completely control his picture and bring to it all his personality, and in this area most photographs never transcend being just snapshots. When a great photographer does infuse the snapshot with his personality and vision, it can be transformed into something truly moving and beautiful.” – Duane Michals

“The best part of us is not what we see, it’s what we feel. We are what we feel. We are not what we look at . . .. We’re not our eyeballs, we’re our mind. People believe their eyeballs and they’re totally wrong . . .. That’s why I consider most photographs extremely boring–just like Muzak, inoffensive, charming, another waterfall, another sunset. This time, colors have been added to protect the innocent. It’s just boring. But that whole arena of one’s experience–grief, loneliness–how do you photograph lust? I mean, how do you deal with these things? This is what you are, not what you see. It’s all sitting up here. I could do all my work sitting in my room. I don’t have to go anywhere.” – Duane Michals

“I write in order to express what the photo itself cannot say. A photograph of my father doesn’t tell me what I thought of him, which for me is much more important than what the man looked like.” – Duane Michals

“Photography does deal with ‘truth’ or a kind of superficial reality better than any of the other arts, but it never questions the nature of reality – it simply reproduces reality. And what good is that when the things of real value in life are invisible?” – Duane Michals

“I believe in the invisible. I do not believe in the definitive reality of things around us. For me, reality is the intuition and the imagination and the quiet voice inside my head that says: isn’t that extraordinary? The things in our lives are the shadows of reality, just as we ourselves are shadows.” – Duane Michals

“Photographers tend not to photograph what they can’t see, which is the very reason one should try to attempt it. Otherwise we’re going to go on forever just photographing more faces and more rooms and more places. Photography has to transcend description. It has to go beyond description to bring insight into the subject, or reveal the subject, not as it looks, but how does it feel?” – Duane Michals

“I believe in the imagination. What I cannot see is infinitely more important than what I can see.” – Duane Michals

“Photography is essentially an act of recognition by street photographers, not an act of invention. Photographers might respond to an old man’s face, or an Arbus freak, or the way light hits a building—and then they move on. Whereas in all the other art forms, take William Blake, everything that came to that paper never existed before. It’s the idea of alchemy, of making something from nothing.” – Duane Michals

“I use photography to help me explain my experiences to myself.” – Duane Michals

“I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody’s face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways.” – Duane Michals
Duane Michals

“I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing.” – Duane Michals

“All good work has magic in it, and addresses the mind in a subtle way.” – Duane Michals

“Art is really whispering, not shouting.” – Duane Michals

“My gift to you is that I am different.” – Duane Michals

View 12 Great Photographs By Duane Michals.

Watch Duane Michals talk about his art.

Get an inside look at the vision Lois Greenfield in these videos.

View 12 Great Photographs By Lois Greenfield here.

View more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers Videos.

Insights on Chris Burkett’s photographs from his wife Ruth.

Read our conversation here.

View 12 Great Photographs by Chris Burkett.

View more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers Videos.

“Eric Meola talks about his photography, his passion for color, and how he approaches the challenge of making authentic photographs when working in indigenous cultures.”

View 12 Great Photographs By Eric Meola here.

Find out more about Eric Meola here.













Read our conversation here.

View 12 Great Photographs Collections here.

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers’ Quotes.

View more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers Videos.

Get to know photographer Jock Sturges better with this video interview.

Read my conversation with Jock Sturges here.

View 12 Great Photographs By Jock Sturges here.

Read 25 Great Quotes By PhotographerJock Sturges here.

View more in the Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers.


image without HDR software processing


image with HDR processing in sky only


image blending 50% normal and 50% HDR processing


image with heavy HDR processing using Photomatix

HDR imagery is expanding today’s photographic aesthetics. Identifying the characteristics of contemporary HDR images will help classicists and pioneers alike. The basic ingredients are desirable for both sensibilities, but in varying combinations and to different degrees.

Pronounced Shadow and Highlight Detail

Preserving significant amounts of shadow and highlight detail even in images containing extreme contrast ranges is something long sought after and continually improving in photography. Prior limitations in the medium have established a conventional appearance for photographs than now needs to be reconsidered, first in light of the way the eye sees at a glance, second in light of the way the eye sees adaptively over time, and third in light of the way we might like to represent a scene expressively. Excessive recovery can alter large-scale contrast ratios unnaturally and in extreme cases may yield localized solarization.

Accentuated Edge Contrast

In an effort to preserve midtone separation after extreme dynamic range compression edge contrast is accentuated. This produces dark lines and bright halos, typically feathered rather than hard edged. As they intensify they begin to drive images away from a classic smooth continuous tone appearance.

Accentuated Texture

Boosting midtone contrast, in addition to contouring and haloing, also brings an exaggeration of texture. This tends to be particularly pronounced in shadows and highlights but it can be found in midtones as well. What was initially low contrast with little separation can become more contrasty with significant texture.

Increased Noise

Separating signal (texture) from noise (grain or noise) can challenge even the most sophisticated software. When texture is increased, very often noise also becomes pronounced.

Smoothed Texture

Aggressive attempts to subdue noise may leave transitions between closely matched tones excessively smooth with a significant reduction in texture. Some applications make real world or captured information look synthetic or rendered.

Saturation Distortions

Brightness changes bring saturation shifts with them. When shadows and highlights are significantly compressed saturation also shifts, sometimes yielding an unnatural appearance, typically but not exclusively oversaturated.

You have many choices before you. Experimentation sensitizes you to possibilities. Ultimately, you’ll make your own informed decisions. As with solving any problem, it’s easier if you break it down into it’s component pieces and then learn what each one does and how they interact with one another. First know what to look for. Second, know what a tool can do. Third, know how to apply a tool. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be well along the way to crafting a unique style that’s all your own. Master musicians choose from a host of possibilities (both tools, techniques, and applications) to craft a distinctive style. Visual artists do the same.

Read more on HDR techniques here.

Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.

You’ll gain real insight into the mind of photographer Kenro Izu in these three videos.

Read more in our conversation.

Read 9 great quotes by photographer Kenro Izu.

View 12 Great Photographs By Kenro Izu.


Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Chris Rainier.

Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Chris Rainier.

“I am a storyteller who uses a camera.” – Chris Rainier

“I always knew that I wanted to be involved in seeing and understanding from seeing around the world. Photography is a perfect way to do that.” – Chris Rainier

“We need to take a moment now and then to trade stories about what it really means to be a human being.”

“I am South African by birth, but because of my father’s job, our family traveled a lot. While living in places like Africa and Australia, we visited indigenous peoples. From the beginning, I carried a camera to document the beauty and wonder of these far-flung countries. I also realized many of these cultures were faced with issues I could not ignore. I understood at a very early age, things were not like they were represented in travel magazines.” – Chris Rainier

“Working with Ansel (Adams), what happened there for me was, “Oh, I could use photography as a social tool.” His use of photography for environmental issues was phenomenal.” – Chris Rainier

“We consider biological diversity of these different flora and fauna crucial to our survival, but don’t think about intellectual diversity — in fact, we kind of look at it in a global market level, wouldn’t it be great to have one language? Well, if all we’re doing is communicating about commerce, perfect. But what about diversity that comes up in a language. Each language has its own unique way of looking at things.”

“We are at a crucial crossroads of human history. We are losing traditional cultures with their ancient ways of life and spiritual beliefs at catastrophic rates … With my photography of the First Peoples of our fragile planet, I hope to show spiritual traditions from our past in the present, and become part of the process in some small way of helping prefer life for future generations. I believe photography plays a crucial role in helping sustain and revitalize cultures on the edge.” – Chris Rainier

“With my photographs, I hope to show the past in the present and become part of the process of pressuring life for the future. As our television sets carry us boldly about the world, and as the chainsaws fell the last trees that hide the lost peoples, we lose an essential mystery, and with it, the wisdom which may lie there. If we would be citizens of that world, then we must do all we can to ensure the survival of that world. As only one form of life on Earth, we must keep our humility and finally honor life itself. Once the fragile umbilical cord to our primal past has been severed, we will find ourselves truly alone, without purpose, adrift in a vast space with nowhere to go.” – Chris Rainier

“What would happen if you gave a camera to the Afghan girl in Steve McCurry’s iconic photo? How different would those photographs be? Not to replace the Steve McCurry’s, but rather to create another chair at the table of the dialogue of what it means to be human. It’s not an either/or. It’s not a good or a bad. It just simply is.There are voices out there that have incredible vision, and we aren’t accessing them enough.” – Chris Rainier

“There’s so many cultures that are still now not connected and are getting left behind in the digital divide. More and more, this is a world where you don’t exist unless you’re online, and you don’t have access to information to education to empowerment, to women’s issues, to job opportunities, unless you’re connected.” – Chris Rainier

“I have come to realize that the further I evolve as a photographer, regardless of where I point my camera, I am taking a self-portrait — a reflection of my own story, my own beliefs, my own point of view. Nothing more. Nor do I presume that where I point my camera and take a picture is a reflection of the absolute truth. There is no such thing as an absolute truth. All images merely reflect the emotion of the photographer and the opinion of the reviewer. As it is stated in photography, there always exists two individuals in every image, the artist and the observer, and their sets of beliefs and cultural biases.” – Chris Rainier

“We’re always told to be objective. Well there is no such thing as objective. There is no such thing. We all have an opinion. As visual storytellers we must form opinions therefore things become subjective and the more intense they become they become extraordinarily subjective. I think the powerful images in documentary and photojournalism, if not in other areas of our field, are the ones where people have taken a stance and made a subjective opinion.” – Chris Rainier

“It’s presumptuous of me to document this culture and call it a documentation. It isn’t a documentation, it is an interpretation of their culture.” – Chris Rainier

“I’m also really trying to be careful not to deal with stereotypes. I was most concerned that I didn’t perpetuate the myth about the savage cannibal. In part that’s why I didn’t go in the direction of National Geographic. They have a colonial approach to the exotic. I didn’t want to get into that. I wanted to try to be as honest about a culture as possible, which is never entirely possible, we always have our own cultural bias.” – Chris Rainier

“I couldn’t get a straight answer when I was with the indigenous people. So I came back, read about it, and went back again and again. The wrong thing that happens, in my mind, is that you’re so prepped on western scientific explanations for things that you’ll miss the point completely.” – Chris Rainier

“What I’ve learned along the way is you have to ask the right question to get the right answer. Often as westerners we go in asking western questions and maybe that’s not the question to be asked. You need to be asking the question in a New Guinea sense. In a sense of the relevancy of their culture not the relevancy of what we think it is. There’s a big difference.” – Chris Rainier

“What’s going on in contemporary anthropology, trying to empower indigenous people to tell their own stories and get a more accurate story to tell other cultures.” – Chris Rainier

“The minute an indigenous culture becomes aware of its value to other cultures it shifts its tone and its perspective.” – Chris Rainier

“There are many examples of where they’re being overrun. But there’s power in information and there are enough organizations like Cultural Survival, Conservation International, Shaman Pharmaceutical. Shaman Pharmaceutical is actually going into the forest and documenting what the shamans are using but they are also linking up the shamans so they can talk to each other. So there are shamans in Borneo talking to shamans in the Amazon, ‘Hey what kind of leaves do you use?’ I think technology is being used in a constructive way to help people preserve their cultures.” – Chris Rainier

“They’re going to be able to hold onto their land and cultural beliefs. You take them out of that context and they’ve lost their roots, they have lost their sense of being nourished. That’s exactly what we’ve lost.” – Chris Rainier

“There are may be questions that we should never find the answers to. You know, in a world that quantifies everything. And this is what I wrote about in one of those essays in the New Guinea book. I hiked through this valley for a couple of weeks, and went through this valley of leeches, and got to the edge of this community, and this valley where this community lived, and the warriors met me – they knew that I was coming – and they said, ‘No. We are not going to let you in. We’re not allowed to let you in.’ I was upset. I was frustrated. I had spent all that time and energy and money to get there. And then after a day or so of spending time on the outer perimeter of this valley with the warriors who were very kind to show me around on the fringes, I got it. It’s good to know that there are places that are untouched, unmapped, not understood, and not quantified because then it still allows us to have the concept of the mystery of life. Once science takes over it quantifies everything, then we’re done for.” – Chris Rainier

“How do you put a value on art? How do you put a value on a little kid who comes wandering through here, and has a shift in his perspective, and is profoundly affected, and becomes the next Picasso or the next President of the United States. It’s these things you can’t put quantitative values on. You can’t do that with art, you can’t do that with indigenous cultures. It’s my belief that it is indigenous cultures that still have family values and a sense of connection between them, the land, and the spiritual connection of all things. That is the greatest gift they can give to us. There are some gifts that we can give to them – certainly medicine and technology to preserve their culture, video or email or the internet. What they need to give to us is a sense of what we have already lost. I think they are really our last chance to reconnect. I think people are appreciating these kind of cultures more and more because they see the differences – what we don’t have and what they do.” – Chris Rainier

“I’d like to touch upon that thing that completes the circle. That’s the documentation of some of these emotional social issues in the world and how it’s for me an important necessity, as much as doing sacred places. It is the yin and yang, the extreme corners of human experience from the Garden of Eden, still left on the planet, to the Dante’s Inferno of places like Sarajevo, Rwanda, or Chechnya for here lies the mysteries of man’s inner light as well as his inner darkness. This truly makes this work complete. As a photographer I’m curious to go into these extreme corners and put them on film.” – Chris Rainier

“I’m trying to create that sense of the spiritual reason why these places or these masks exist.” – Chris Rainier

Read my conversation with Chris Rainier.

View 12 Great Photographs By Chris Rainier.

Watch Chris Rainier’s TED talk.

Visit Chris Rainier’s website.

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