Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by photographer Bill Brandt.
“It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country.” – Bill Brandt
“It is the gift of seeing the life around them clearly and vividly, as something that is exciting in its own right. It is an innate gift, varying in intensity with the individual’s temperament and environment.” – Bill Brandt
“Most photographers would feel a certain embarrassment in admitting publicly that they carried within them a sense of wonder, yet without it they would not produce the work they do, whatever their particular field.” – Bill Brandt
“The good photographer will produce a competent picture every time whatever his subject. But only when his subject makes and immediate and direct appeal to his own interests will he produce a work of distinction.” – Bill Brandt
“It is essential for the photographer to know the effect of his lenses. The lens is his eye, and it makes or ruins his pictures. A feeling for composition is a great asset. I think it is very much a matter of instinct. It can perhaps be developed, but I doubt if it can be learned. To achieve his best work, the young photographer must discover what really excites him visually. He must discover his own world.” – Bill Brandt
“A photographer must be prepared to catch and hold on to those elements which give distinction to the subject or lend it atmosphere.” – Bill Brandt
“If there is any method in the way I take pictures, I believe it lies in this. See the subject first. Do not try to force it to be a picture of this, that or the other thing. Stand apart from it. Then something will happen. The subject will reveal itself.” – Bill Brandt
“By temperament I am not unduly excitable and certainly not trigger-happy. I think twice before I shoot and very often do not shoot at all. By professional standards I do not waste a lot of film; but by the standards of many of my colleagues I probably miss quite a few of my opportunities. Still, the things I am after are not in a hurry as a rule.” – Bill Brandt
“But I did not always know just what it was I wanted to photograph. I believe it is important for a photographer to discover this, for unless he finds what it is that excites him, what it is that calls forth at once an emotional response, he is unlikely to achieve his best work.” – Bill Brandt
“Sometimes they are a matter of luck; the photographer could not expect or hope for them. Sometimes they are a matter of patience, waiting for an effect to be repeated that he has seen and lost or for one that he anticipates.” – Bill Brandt
“I am not very interested in extraordinary angles. They can be effective on certain occasions, but I do not feel the necessity for them in my own work. Indeed, I feel the simplest approach can often be most effective. A subject placed squarely in the centre of the frame, if attention is not distracted from it by fussy surroundings, has a simple dignity which makes it all the more impressive.” – Bill Brandt
“Photographers should follow their own judgment, and not the fads and dictates of others.” – Bill Brandt
“And only the photographer himself knows the effect he wants. He should know by instinct, grounded in experience, what subjects are enhanced by hard or soft, light or dark treatment.” – Bill Brandt
“I consider it essential that the photographer should do his own printing and enlarging. The final effect of the finished print depends so much on these operations.” – Bill Brandt
“No amount of toying with shades of print or with printing papers will transform a commonplace photograph into anything other than a commonplace photograph.” – Bill Brandt
“Photography is not a sport. It has no rules.” – Bill Brandt
“Photography is still a very new medium and everything must be tried and dare.” – Bill Brandt
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