Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by photographer Andreas Feininger.
“Photographers — idiots, of which there are so many — say, “Oh, if only I had a Nikon or a Leica, I could make great photographs.” That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard in my life. It’s nothing but a matter of seeing, and thinking, and interest.” – Andreas Feininger
“It’s nothing but a matter of seeing, thinking, and interest. That’s what makes a good photograph. And then rejecting anything that would be bad for the picture. The wrong light, the wrong background, time and so on. Just don’t do it, not matter how beautiful the subject is.” – Andreas Feininger
“Experience has shown that the more fascinating the subject, the less observant the photographer.” – Andreas Feininger
“Two factors thus emerge as requisites of success in the field of creative photography. First, the subject must be photogenic. Second, its re-creation in a photograph must be based upon technical knowledge, guided and supported by artistic inspiration.” – Andreas Feininger
“Human vision is untrustworthy, subjective and selective. Camera vision is total and non – objective.” – Andreas Feininger
“Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are “camera lies,” inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a naturalistic medium of rendition and that striving for “naturalism” in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.
“The first impression of a new subject is not necessary the best. Seen from a different angle or under different condition it might look even better. Always study a three – dimensional subject with one eye closed.” – Andreas Feininger
“Don’t look for “depth” but instead search for subject aspects which prove the presence of depth.” – Andreas Feininger
“Before you shoot an irresistible subject, mute all your senses except sight to find out how much is left for the camera to record.” – Andreas Feininger
“(1) The more thoroughly a photographer explores his subject with the camera (i.e., the more pictures he makes), the more he sees and the better his chance of getting good results.
(2) Even slight changes in subject approach can make significant differences in the effect of the picture.” – Andreas Feininger
“The difference in “seeing” between the eye and the lens should make it obvious that a photographer who merely points his camera at an appealing subject and expects to get an appealing picture in return, may be headed for a disappointment.” – Andreas Feininger
“As an amateur you have an advantage over photographers – you can do as you wish… This should make amateurs the happiest of photographers.” – Andreas Feininger
“Every successful photograph, except for lucky shots, begins with an idea and a plan. The more precisely a photographer knows what it is he wishes to do, the better the chances are that he will do it.” – Andreas Feininger
“Realism and superrealism are what I’m after. This world is full of things the eye doesn’t see. The camera can see more, and often 10 times better.” – Andreas Feininger
“With a short lens I can reveal the hidden things near at hand, with a long lens the hidden things far away. The telephoto lens provides a new visual sensation for people: it widens their horizons. And, conversely, the things under our nose invariably look good when blown up really big.” – Andreas Feininger
“The camera can push the new medium to its limits – and beyond. It is there – in the “beyond” – that the imaginative photographer will compete with the imaginative painter. Painting must return to the natural world from time to time for renewal of the artistic vision. The key sector of renewal of vision today is the new vistas revealed by science. Here photography, which is not only art but science also, stands on the firmest ground.” – Andreas Feininger
“Any good photograph is a successful synthesis of technique and art.” – Andreas Feininger
“Light is the photographic medium par excellence; it is to the photographer what words are to the writer; color and paint to the painter; wood, metal, stone, or clay to the sculptor.” – Andreas Feininger
“I believe that photography at its best is an Art, and photo-technique is but a means to an end: the creation of the picture. Today, even a fool can learn to operate any of our modern foolproof cameras, and produce technically perfect pictures — but is this knowledge really all he needs for taking purposeful and pictorially exciting photographs? Naturally, as in any other art, there are artists and there are dabblers. If photography really were nothing but the simple and purely mechanical reproduction process the majority of people still think it is, why are there so many dull and meaningless photographs around?” – Andreas Feininger
“A technically perfect photograph can be the world’s most boring picture.” – Andreas Feininger
“Know – how is worthless unless guided by know – why and know – when.” – Andreas Feininger
“No one can do inspired work without genuine interest in his subject and understanding of its characteristics.” – Andreas Feininger
“What matters is not what you photograph, but why and how you photograph it. Even the most controversial subject, if depicted by a sensitive photographer with honesty, sympathy, and understanding, can be transformed into an emotionally rewarding experience.” – Andreas Feininger
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