Master photographer Harry Callahan shares insights garnered from a lifetime in the medium.
Find quotes by Harry Callahan here.
Read our conversation here.
View more in the Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers here.
Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Edward Steichen.
“No photographer is as good as the simplest camera.” – Edward Steichen
“I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself…” – Edward Steichen
“Art for art’s sake is dead, if it ever lived.” – Edward Steichen
“It is an error common to many artists, (who) strive merely to avoid mistakes, when all our efforts should be to create positive and important work. Better positive and important with mistakes and failures than perfect mediocrity.” – Edward Steichen
“The precision of his (Harry Callahan) skill places his work beyond the tentative and the experimental stage. He is continually searching and exploring both himself and his surroundings. and in this exploration of the realm of places, people and things, contrasts and relationships, Callahan is no respecter of conventional technical formula or code. His delicate sense of pattern is an integral part of his photography and not a thing by itself.” – Edward Steichen
“Most photographers seem to operate with a pane of glass between themselves and their subjects. They just can’t get inside and know the subject.” – Edward Steichen
“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen
“When I first became interested in photography, I thought it was the whole cheese. My idea was to have it recognized as one of the fine arts. Today I don’t give a hoot in hell about it. The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself. And that is no mean function.” – Edward Steichen
“Photography is a major force in explaining man to man.” – Edward Steichen
“There is only one optimist. He has been here since man has been on this earth, and that is man himself. If we hadn’t had such a magnificent optimism to carry us through all these things, we wouldn’t be here. We have survived it on our optimism.” – Edward Steichen
“A photograph is worth a thousand words, provided it is accompanied by only ten words.” – Edward Steichen
“When that shutter clicks, anything else that can be done afterward is not worth consideration.” – Edward Steichen
“Every other artist begins (with) a blank canvas, a piece of paper… the photographer begins with the finished product.” – Edward Steichen
“It is rather amusing, this tendency of the wise to regard a print which has been locally manipulated as irrational photography – this tendency which finds an esthetic tone of expression in the word faked. A MANIPULATED print may be not a photograph. The personal intervention between the action of the light and the print itself may be a blemish on the purity of photography. But, whether this intervention consists merely of marking, shading and tinting in a direct print, or of stippling, painting and scratching on the negative, or of using glycerine, brush and mop on a print, faking has set in, and the results must always depend upon the photographer, upon his personality, his technical ability and his feeling. BUT long before this stage of conscious manipulation has been begun, faking has already set in. In the very beginning, when the operator controls and regulates his time of exposure, when in dark-room the developer is mixed for detail, breadth, flatness or contrast, faking has been resorted to. In fact, every photograph is a fake from start to finish, a purely impersonal, unmanipulated photograph being practically impossible. When all is said, it still remains entirely a matter of degree and ability.” – Edward Steichen
“Photography is a medium of formidable contradictions. It is both ridiculously easy and almost impossibly difficult. It is easy because its technical rudiments can readily be mastered by anyonwith a few simple instructions. It is difficult because, while while the artist working in any other medium begins with a blank surface and gradually brings his conception into being, the photographer is the only imagemaker who begins with the picture completed. His emotions, his knowledge, and his native talent are brought into focus and fixed beyond recall the moment the shutter of his camera has closed.” – Edward Steichen
“The use of the term “art medium” is, to say the least, misleading, for it is the artist that creates a work of art not the medium. It is the artist in photography that gives form to content by a distillation of ideas, thought, experience, insight and understanding.” – Edward Steichen
“To make good photographs, to express something, to contribute something to the world he lives in, and to contribute something to the art of photography besides imitations of the best photographers on the market today, that is basic training, the understanding of self.” – Edward Steichen
“Once you really commence to see things, then you really commence to feel things.” – Edward Steichen
“Some day there may be… machinery that needs but to be wound up and sent roaming o’er hill and dale, through fields and meadows, by babbling brooks and shady woods – in short, a machine that will discriminately select its subject and, by means of a skillful arrangement of springs and screws, compose its motif, expose the plate, develop, print, and even mount and frame the result of its excursion, so that there will be nothing for us to do but to send it to the Royal Photographic Society’s exhibition and gratefully to receive the ‘Royal Medal’.” – Edward Steichen
View 12 Great Photographs By Edward Steichen here.
Looking for great books on the history of photography? Browse this collection of my favorites.
Anyone who understand the history of the medium will understand it better and appreciate it more. This is extremely helpful for practicing photographers. (And who isn’t one these days?)
Find more great books here.
We can all learn a lot from the photographers who make the classic photographs.
Here’s a list of links to collections of my favorite quotes by master photographers.
You’ll find them inspiring!
John Paul Caponigro
David La Chapelle
W Eugene Smith
Read new additions to this collection here.
View The Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers Online here.
Read Photographer’s Favorite Quotes here.
This is one of the best exhibits I’ve seen in ages!
“While digital photography and image-editing software have brought about an increased awareness of the degree to which camera images can be manipulated, the practice of doctoring photographs has existed since the medium was invented. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) is the first major exhibition devoted to the history of manipulated photography before the digital age. Featuring some 200 visually captivating photographs created between the 1840s and 1990s in the service of art, politics, news, entertainment, and commerce, the exhibition offers a provocative new perspective on the history of photography as it traces the medium’s complex and changing relationship to visual truth.
The photographs in the exhibition were altered using a variety of techniques, including multiple exposure (taking two or more pictures on a single negative), combination printing (producing a single print from elements of two or more negatives), photomontage, overpainting, and retouching on the negative or print. In every case, the meaning and content of the camera image was significantly transformed in the process of manipulation.
Faking It is divided into seven sections, each focusing on a different set of motivations for manipulating the camera image … “Picture Perfect”, “Artifice in the Name of Art”, “Politics and Persuasion”m “Novelties and Amusements”, “Pictures in Print”, and “Protoshop.”
The exhibit runs from October 11, 2012 through January 27, 2013.
Find out more about the exhibit here.
Whether you can or can’t see the exhibit, get the book.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 296-page catalogue written by Mia Fineman.
“Photographic manipulation is a familiar phenomenon in the digital era. What will come as a revelation to readers of this captivating, wide-ranging book is that nearly every type of manipulation we associate with Adobe’s now-ubiquitous Photoshop software was also part of photography’s predigital repertoire, from slimming waistlines and smoothing away wrinkles to adding people to (or removing them from) pictures, not to mention fabricating events that never took place. Indeed, the desire and determination to modify the camera image are as old as photography itself—only the methods have changed.
By tracing the history of manipulated photography from the earliest days of the medium to the release of Photoshop 1.0 in 1990, Mia Fineman offers a corrective to the dominant narrative of photography’s development, in which champions of photographic “purity,” such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, get all the glory, while devotees of manipulation, including Henry Peach Robinson, Edward Steichen, and John Heartfield, are treated as conspicuous anomalies. Among the techniques discussed on these pages—abundantly illustrated with works from an international array of public and private collections—are multiple exposure, combination printing, photomontage, composite portraiture, over-painting, hand coloring, and retouching. The resulting images are as diverse in style and motivation as they are in technique. Taking her argument beyond fine art into the realms of politics, journalism, fashion, entertainment, and advertising, Fineman demonstrates that the old adage “the camera does not lie” is one of photography’s great fictions.”
Preview the book here.
Here’s an excerpt from my first post on Huffington Post.
“Photography’s constant move towards ease, speed, economy, and ubiquity continues today and it has recently reached a new critical apex.
In the first decade of the 21st century, Apple released the iPhone (2007) and a host of independent applications followed, designed to preview, make, process, enhance, and distribute photographs in seconds. Photography just got easier, faster, less expensive, and more ubiquitious …
When did you discover you can do this?
5-15 seconds Make and save image
15-30 seconds Process an image
15-30 seconds Comment on an image and transmit it to others
15-30 seconds Find other people’s images
15-30 seconds Comment on other people’s images or put them to other uses
In about a minute you can make, process, comment on, and distribute an image. It can take you a similar amount of time to do the same with someone else’s image.
If you haven’t done it yet, try it now. I just did. Doing this will change the way you experience and think about photography …”
Read the full post here.
I share useful links to posts on the history of photography, camera, and camera phone too.
Find iPhone Apps and Accessories I use here.
I’ve started writing for the Huffington Post. Initially, I’ll be focussing on cell phone photography. It is a game changer. Did you know people win Pulitzer prizes and sell fine art prints with cell phone photographs? But they did this with traditional cameras too. What excites me most about cell phone photography are the many different things you can do with cell phone photographs – get a quick diagnosis, find out where you are, see someplace you want to visit before you get there, find the nearest store for items, compare prices, make 3D immersive images, help enrich 3D models on Google maps … the list goes on and on and keeps expanding everyday. Cell phone photography has really gotten my head thinking in new exciting ways! I’ll share my insights on Huffington Post.
The first is live now. More are scheduled for this week. Stay tuned!
You can find all my posts here.
Find iPhone Apps and Accessories I use here.