13 Quotes By Photographer Richard Misrach

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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 in 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.

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21 Quotes By Photographer Fredrick Sommer

 
Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Fredrick Sommer.
“The only way to understand something is to be confronted by something that is difficult to understand.” – Frederick Sommer
“Everything is shared by everything else; there are no discontinuities.” – Frederick Sommer
“The coherent way of investigating any field is to examine its possible relatedness to other things.” – Frederick Sommer
“Photography is a distributive act leading to a privileged condition.” – Frederick Sommer” – Fred Sommer
“Life itself is not the reality. We are the ones who put life into stones and pebbles.” – Frederick Sommer
“Some speak of a return to nature. I wonder where they could have been.” – Frederick Sommer
“… art is images you carry. You cannot carry nature with you, but you carry images of nature. When you go out to make a picture you find you are moved by something which is in agreement with an image you already held within yourself.” – Frederick Sommer
“The field of action of a photograph should be that chessboard of the heart and mind upon which poetry and art have always operated.” – Frederick Sommer
“My photographs are not pure: they are a seething wealth of imperfection.” – Frederick Sommer
“Poetic and speculative photographs can result if one works carefully and accurately, yet letting chance relationships have full play.” – Frederick Sommer
“If I could find them (assemblages) in nature I would photograph them. I make them because through photography I have a knowledge of things that can’t be found.” – Frederick Sommer
“Art is not arbitrary. A fine painting is not there by accident; it is not arrived at by chance.” – Frederick Sommer
“Art and accident are one.” – Frederick Sommer
“Choice and chance structure art and nature.” – Frederick Sommer
“Ideas and thoughts collide and sort themselves out in these fruitful collisions.” – Frederick Sommer
“Ideas and art are the possibility of an answer tomorrow.” – Frederick Sommer
“Art accepts what it finds.” – Frederick Sommer
“In total acceptance, almost everything becomes a revelation.” – Frederick Sommer
“Art is the splendor of reality before everything has become meaning.” – Frederick Sommer
“Reality is greater than our dreams.” – Frederick Sommer
“We work for that part of our vision which is uncompleted.” – Frederick Sommer
View 12 Great Photographs By Fredrick Sommer.
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Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographer’s Quotes.

32 Quotes By Photographer Walker Evans

 
Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Walker Evans.
“The eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.” ― Walker Evans,
“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” – Walker Evans
“Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.” – Walker Evans
“I think there is a period of esthetic discovery that happens to a man and he can do all sorts of things at white heat.” – Walker Evans
“With the camera, it’s all or nothing. You either get what you’re after at once, or what you do has to be worthless. I don’t think the essence of photography has the hand in it so much. The essence is done very quietly with a flash of the mind, and with a machine. I think too that photography is editing, editing after the taking. After knowing what to take, you have to do the editing.” – Walker Evans
Interviewer: “Do you think it’s possible for the camera to lie?”
Walker Evans: “It certainly is. It almost always does.” – Walker Evans
“I’m sometimes called a ‘documentary photographer’ but… a man operating under that definition could take a sly pleasure in the disguise. Very often I’m doing one thing when I’m thought to be doing another.” – Walker Evans
“Documentary: That’s a sophisticated and misleading word. And not really clear… The term should be documentary style… You see, a document has use, whereas art is really useless.” – Walker Evans
“I used to try to figure out precisely what I was seeing all the time, until I discovered I didn’t need to. If the thing is there, why, there it is.” – Walker Evans
“Detachment, lack of sentimentality, originality, a lot of things that sound rather empty. I know what they mean. Let’s say, “visual impact” may not mean much to anybody. I could point it out though. I mean it’s a quality that something has or does not have. Coherence. Well, some things are weak, some things are strong…” – Walker Evans
“What I believe is really good in the so-called documentary approach to photography is the addition of lyricism. This quality is usually produced unconsciously and even unintentionally and accidentally by the cameraman.” – Walker Evans
“The secret of photography is, the camera takes on the character and personality of the handler.” – Walker Evans
“When I first made photographs, they were too plain to be considered art and I wasn’t considered an artist. I didn’t get any attention at all. The people who looked at my work thought, well, that’s just a snapshot of the backyard. Privately I knew otherwise and through stubbornness stayed with it…” – Walker Evans
“I began to wonder – I knew I was an artist or wanted to be one – but I was wondering whether I really was an artist. I was doing such ordinary things that I could feel the difference. Most people would look at those things and say, ‘Well, that’s nothing. What did you do that for? That’s just a wreck of a car or a wreck of a man. That’s nothing. That isn’t art.’ They don’t say that anymore. – Walker Evans
“Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.” – Walker Evans
“The meaning of quality in photography’s best pictures lies written in the language of vision. That language is learned by chance, not system; …our overwhelming formal education deals in words, mathematical figures and methods of rational thought, not in images.” – Walker Evans
“The photographs are not illustrative. They, and the text, are coequal, mutually independent, and fully collaborative. By their fewness, and by the importance of the reader’s eye, this will be misunderstood by most of that minority which does not wholly ignore it. In the interests, however, of the history and future of photography, that risk seems irrelevant, and this flat statement necessary.” – Walker Evans
“Somewhere in our search for reality we have passed something by, something important that we no longer find amid the bits and pieces of disassembled matter-something vital that we cannot build out of these parts. There is surely something else, some piece of divinity in us, something that was before the elements, and that owes no homage to the sun.” – Walker Evans
“It is easy to imagine fantasy as physical and myth as real. We do it almost every moment. We do this as we dream, as we think, and as we cope with the world about us. But these worlds of fantasy that we form into the solid things around us are the source of our discontent. They inspire our search to find ourselves.” – Walker Evans
“I work rather blindly. I have a theory that seems to work with me that some of the best things you ever do sort of come through you. You don’t know where you get the impetus and response to what’s before your eyes.” – Walker Evans
“I do note that photography, a despised medium to work in, is full of empty phonies and worthless commercial people. That presents quite a challenge to the man who can take delight in being in a very difficult, disdained medium.” – Walker Evans
“I say half jokingly that photography is the most difficult of the arts. It does require a certain arrogance to see and to choose. I feel myself walking on a tightrope instead of on the ground.” – Walker Evans
“Good photography is unpretentious.” – Walker Evans
“Do we know what we look like? Not really.” – Walker Evans
“…nature photographs downright bore me for some reason or other. I think: ‘Oh, yes. Look at that sand dune. What of it?’” – Walker Evans
“Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach.” – Walker Evans
“Incidentally, part of a photographer’s gift should be with people. You can do some wonderful work if you know how to make people understand what you’re doing and feel all right about it, and you can do terrible work if you put them on the defense, which they all are at the beginning. You’ve got to take them off their defensive attitude and make them participate.” – Walker Evans
“It’s easy to photograph light reflecting from a surface, the truly hard part is capturing the light in the air.” – Walker Evans
“Privilege, if you’re very strict, is an immoral and unjust thing to have, but if you’ve got it you didn’t choose to get it and you might as well use it. You’re privileged to be at Yale, but you know you’re under an obligation to repay what’s been put into you.” – Walker Evans
“I never took it upon myself to change the world. And those contemporaries of mine who were going around falling for the idea that they were going to bring down the United States government and make a new world were just asses to me.” – Walker Evans
“It’s too presumptuous and naïve to think you can change society by a photograph or anything else… I equate that with propaganda; I think that’s a lower rank of purpose.” – Walker Evans
“Die knowing something. You’re not here long.” ― Walker Evans
See more in 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers.
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27 Quotes By Photographer Gary Winogrand

 
Enj0y this collection of quotes by photographer Gary Winogrand.
“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” – Garry Winogrand
“The photo is a thing in itself. And that’s what still photography is all about.” – Garry Winogrand
“I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” – Garry Winogrand
“I have a burning desire to see what things look like photographed by me.” – Garry Winogrand
“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.” – Garry Winogrand
“In the end, maybe the correct language would be how the fact of putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it. A photograph is not what was photographed, it’s something else.” – Garry Winogrand
“The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed.” – Garry Winogrand
“There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described I like to think of photographing as a two way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing it as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.” – Garry Winogrand
“What I write here is a description of what I have come to understand about photography, from photographing and from looking at photographs. A work of art is that thing whose form and content are organic to the tools and materials that made it. Still photography is a chemical, mechanical process. Literal description or the illusion of literal description, is what the tools and materials of still photography do better than any other graphic medium. A still photograph is the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space. Understanding this, one can postulate the following theorem: Anything and all things are photographable. A photograph can only look like how the camera saw what was photographed. Or, how the camera saw the piece of time and space is responsible for how the photograph looks. Therefore, a photograph can look any way. Or, there’s no way a photograph has to look (beyond being an illusion of a literal description). Or, there are no external or abstract or preconceived rules of design that can apply to still photographs. I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.” – Garry Winogrand
“Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the picture as judgment that the photograph is good.” – Garry Winogrand
“If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.”- Garry Winogrand
“You see something happening and you bang away at it. Either you get what you saw or you get something else – and whichever is better you print.” – Garry Winogrand
“There is no special way a photograph should look.” – Garry Winogrand
“A photograph can look any way.” – Garry Winogrand
“Every photograph is a battle of form versus content.” – Garry Winogrand
“Photos have no narrative content. They only describe light on surface.” – Garry Winogrand
“For me the true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film… if, later, the reality means something to someone else, so much the better.” – Garry Winogrand
“I don’t have messages in my pictures…The true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film.” – Garry Winogrand
“I don’t have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph. I have no preconceptions.” – Garry Winogrand
“I get totally out of myself. It’s the closest I come to not existing, I think, which is the best – which is to me attractive.” – Garry Winogrand
“I really try to divorce myself from any thought of possible use of this stuff. That’s part of the discipline. My only purpose while I’m working is to try to make interesting photographs, and what to do with them is another act – an alter consideration. Certainly while I’m working, I want them to be as useless as possible.” – Garry Winogrand
“No one moment is most important. Any moment can be something.” – Garry Winogrand
“The only thing that’s difficult is reloading when things are happening. Can you get it done fast enough?” – Garry Winogrand
“There are no photographs while I’m reloading” – Garry Winogrand
“You have a lifetime to learn technique. But I can teach you what is more important than technique, how to see; learn that and all you have to do afterwards is press the shutter.” – Garry Winogrand
“There are things I back off from trying to talk about, you know. Particularly my own work. Also, there may be things better left unsaid. At times I’d much rather talk about other (people’s) work.” – Garry Winogrand
“Great photography is always on the edge of failure.” – Garry Winogrand
 View 12 Great Photographs By Gary Winogrand here.
Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographer’s Quotes.