Here’s a collection of my favorite photographs by photographer Harry Callahan.
“I think I came alive when I started photography.” – Harry Callahan
“To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures.” – Harry Callahan
“You only do exercises in art school. That’s not the real thing. A little bit tells you so much. You have to find your own self. And you don’t know what you are! But that’s what you have to search for.” – Harry Callahan
“Every time I talked about making a picture I didn’t do it. I had already done it – talking about it! I quit talking.” – Harry Callahan
“I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos.” – Harry Callahan
“I guess I’ve shot about 40,000 negatives and of these I have about 800 pictures I like.” – Harry Callahan
“In terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it. If you don’t do it, you don’t know what might happen.” – Harry Callahan
“Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters …” – Harry Callahan
“It’s the subject matter that counts. I’m interested in revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it. A photo is able to capture a moment that people can’t always see.” – Harry Callahan
“Photography is an adventure just as life is an adventure.” – Harry Callahan
“I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting.” – Harry Callahan
“If man wishes to express himself photographically, he must understand, surely to a certain extent, his relationship to life. I am interested in relating the problems that affect me to some set of values that I am trying to discover and establish as being my life. I want to discover and establish them through photography. This is strictly my affair and does not explain these pictures by any means. Anyone else not having the desire to take them would realize that I must have felt this was purely personal. This reason, whether it be good or bad, is the only reason I can give for these photographs.” – Harry Callahan
“The photographs that excite me are photographs that say something in a new manner; not for the sake of being different, but ones that are different because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself.” – Harry Callahan
“I realize that we all do express ourselves, but those who express that which is always being done are those whose thinking is almost in every way in accord with everyone else. Expression on this basis has become dull to those who wish to think for themselves.” – Harry Callahan
“The mystery isn’t in the technique, it’s in each of us.” – Harry Callahan
“I can tell you for me it goes on forever. There are some things you can’t ever find out. You can’t find out in one life either.” – Harry Callahan
“I think nearly every artist continually wants to reach the edge of nothingness – the point where you can’t go any further.” – Harry Callahan
“I can’t say what makes a picture. I can’t say. It’s mysterious.” – Harry Callahan
“A picture is like a prayer.” – Harry Callahan
“I do believe strongly in photography and hope by following it intuitively that when the photographs are looked at they will touch the spirit in people.” – Harry Callahan
“I like the simple things. I don’t know why. I’m that way. I came from a simple place.” – Harry Callahan
Read my conversation with photographer Harry Callahan here.
Find more quotes in The Essential List Of Photographers Quotes.
You’ll be inspired by this collection of quotes by photographer Sebastiao Salgado.
“I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“When I was just starting out, I met Cartier-Bresson. He wasn’t young in age but, in his mind, he was the youngest person I’d ever met. He told me it was necessary to trust my instincts, be inside my work, and set aside my ego. In the end, my photography turned out very different to his, but I believe we were coming from the same place.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“It is a great honor for me to be compared to Henri Cartier-Bresson…But I believe there is a very big difference in the way we put ourselves inside the stories we photograph. He always strove for the decisive moment as being the most important. I always work for a group of pictures, to tell a story. If you ask which picture in a story I like most, it is impossible for me to tell you this. I don’t work for an individual picture. If I must select one individual picture for a client, it is very difficult for me.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“As long as there’s journalism, there will be photojournalism. They’re two halves of a whole. And although they certainly won’t last forever, for the moment I don’t see either one of them coming to an end. Roland Barthes, in his book Camera Lucida, stated that photography, rather than film or television, is the collective memory of the world. As I see it, he’s right about this. Photography immortalize a moment, which then becomes a symbol, a reference. Photography is universal language; it doesn’t need translation. Its collective memory is a mirror in which our society continually observes itself…” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I’m not an artist. An artist makes an object. Me, it’s not an object, I work in history, I’m a storyteller.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I can be an artist a posteriori, not a priori. If my pictures tell the story, our story, human story, then in a hundred years, then they can be considered an art reference, but now they are not made as art. I’m a journalist. My life’s on the road, my studio is the planet.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“For me, art is such a wide concept – anything can be art.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I don’t want anyone to appreciate the light or the palette of tones. I want my pictures to inform, to provoke discussion – and to raise money.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“What I want is the world to remember the problems and the people I photograph. What I want is to create a discussion about what is happening around the world and to provoke some debate with these pictures. Nothing more than this. I don’t want people to look at them and appreciate the light and the palate of tones. I want them to look inside and see what the pictures represent, and the kind of people I photograph.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I try with my pictures to raise a question, to provoke a debate, so that we can discuss problems together and come up with solutions.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I am a former economist. I never went to photography school to learn photography.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I have been photographing the portrait of an end of an era, as machines and computers replace human workers. What we have in these pictures is an archeology.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“You photograph with all your ideology.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I’m not a religious person. The language of photography is symbolic.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“The language that photography has is a formal language. Any photographer is doing something formal. If it’s formal, then it must be an aesthetic way to communicate.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“Most of the information we now get is through television and is mutilated. Photography offers the opportunity to spend much more time on a topic. It’s relatively cheaper medium, and can allow a photographer really to live in another place, show another reality, get closer to the truth.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“When you work fast, what you put in your pictures is what your brought with yoiu — your own ideas and concepts. When you spend more time on a project, you learn to understand your subjects. There comes a time when it is not you who is taking the pictures. Something special happens between the photographer and the people he is photographing. He realizes that they are giving the pictures to him.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“There comes a moment when it is no longer you who takes the photograph, but receives the way to do it quite naturally and fully.
“You need to be accepted by reality.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“It’s not the photographer who makes the picture, but the person being photographed.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“The picture is not made by the photographer, the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship that you have with the people you photograph.” ― Sebastião Salgado
“I have tried to bring about better communication between people. I believe that humanitarian photography is like economics. Economy is a kind of sociology, as is documentary photography.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“We live in a society where we never prepare people to be a community.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“We are one human race, and there must be understanding among all men. For those who look at the problems of today, my big hope is that they understand. That they understand that the population is quite big enough, that they must be informed that they must have economic development, that they must have social development, and must be integrated into all parts of the world.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I work alone. Humans are incredible, because when you come alone, they will receive you, they accept you, they protect you, they give you all things that you need, and they teach you all things you must know. When you come with two persons or three persons, you have a group in front of them. They don’t discuss with the new persons what is important to them…” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I tell a little bit of my life to them, and they tell a little of theirs to me. The picture itself is just the tip of the iceberg.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“There are moments that you suffer a lot, moments you won’t photograph. There are some people you like better than others. But you give, you receive, you cherish, you are there. When you are really there, you know when you see the picture later what you are seeing.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I very much like to work on long-term projects…There is time for the photographer and the people in front of the camera to understand each other. There is time to go to a place and understand what is happening there. …When you spend more time on a project, you learn to understand your subjects. There comes a time when it is not you who is taking the pictures. Something special happens between the photographer and the people he is photographing. He realizes that they are giving the pictures to him.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“So many times I’ve photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet. I had one idea to go and photograph the factories that were polluting, and to see all the deposits of garbage. But, in the end, I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet – to see the innocence.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I discovered that close to half the planet is ‘pristine.’ We live in towns such as London, Paris or Sao Paulo and have the impression that all the pristine areas are gone, but they are not.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“We are animals, born from the land with the other species. Since we’ve been living in cities, we’ve become more and more stupid, not smarter. What made us survive all these hundreds of thousands of years is our spirituality; the link to our land.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“In the end, the only heritage we have is our planet, and I have decided to go to the most pristine places on the planet and photograph them in the most honest way I know, with my point of view, and of course it is in black and white, because it is the only thing I know how to do.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“I don’t believe a person has a style. What people have is a way of photographing what is inside them. What is there comes out.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“…my way of photographing is my way of life. I photograph from my experience, my way of seeing things…” – Sebastiao Salgado
“Of course, I won’t be abandoning photography, because it is my life.” – Sebastiao Salgado
Explore The Essential Collection of Quotes By Photographers here.
View The Essential Collection Of Photographers Documentaries here.
This BAFTA award-winning BBC series with John Berger rapidly became regarded as one of the most influential art programs ever made.
In the first program, Berger examines the impact of photography on our appreciation of art from the past.
This second program deals with the portrayal of the female nude, an important part of the tradition of European art. Berger examines these paintings and asks whether they celebrate women as they really are or only as men would like them to be.
In the third program, John Berger questions the value we place on that tradition.
In the fourth program, Berger analyses the images of advertising and publicity and shows how they relate to the tradition of oil painting – in moods, relationships and poses.
Find Berger’s seminal book Ways Of Seeing here.
View The Essential Collection of Documentaries On Photographers.
Read The Essential Collection of Photographer’s Quotes here.
Read conversations with photographers here.
“A fantastic documentary on one of the key people in the history of cinema. A portrait of the pioneering photographer, forefather of cinema, showman and murderer Eadweard Muybridge. Born in Kingston upon Thames, Muybridge did his most famous work in California, where his experiments in early cinema and the public projection of his images using a machine he invented astounded audiences worldwide.”
View The Essential Collection of Documentaries On Photographers.
Read The Essential Collection of Photographer’s Quotes here.
Read conversations with photographers here.
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by photographer Bernice Abbott.
“Imagine a world without photography, one could only imagine.” – Berenice Abbott
“Photography helps people to see.” – Berenice Abbott
“What the human eye observes causally and incuriously, the eye of the camera notes with relentless fidelity.” – Berenice Abbott
“Some people are still unaware that reality contains unparalleled beauties. The fantastic and unexpected, the ever-changing and renewing is nowhere so exemplified as in real life itself.” – Berenice Abbott
“The challenge for me has first been to see things as they are, whether a portrait, a city street, or a bouncing ball. In a word, I have tried to be objective. What I mean by objectivity is not the objectivity of a machine, but of a sensible human being with the mystery of personal selection at the heart of it. The second challenge has been to impose order onto the things seen and to supply the visual context and the intellectual framework – that to me is the art of photography.” – Berenice Abbott
“…people say they need to express their emotions I’m sick of that. Photography doesn`t teach you to express your emotions it teachs you to see.” – Berenice Abbott
“They should just go out and photograph and stop talking about it. That’s the only way they are going to find themselves. They can’t do it in their heads – they have to go out and do it in the camera and get it on film.” – Berenice Abbott
“Let us first say what photography is not. A photograph is not a painting, a poem, a symphony, a dance. It is not just a pretty picture, not an exercise in contortionist techniques and sheer print quality. It is or should be a significant document, a penetrating statement, which can be described in a very simple term – selectivity. To define selection, one may say that it should be focussed on the kind of subject matter which hits you hard with its impact and excites your imagination to the extent that you are forced to take it. Pictures are wasted unless the motive power which impelled you to action is strong and stirring.” – Berenice Abbott
“Just living in a place is not enough. You can live in a community and not understand it. Just looking at it wont do. I almost believe we don’t see anything until we understand it. Look into the history of the area – why it started, how it developed. The more research you can do the place, the more you may realize that you don’t know it as well as you thought you did. Let the subject speak for itself. Be true to the subject. Pretty pictures are only an escape from the subject. Don’t photograph a good-looking branch just because it looks nice; the branch should mean something about the community. Photography is statement; it has to tell us things about a place.” – Berenice Abbott
“Actually, documentary pictures include every subject in the world – good, bad, indifferent. I have yet to see a fine photograph which is not a good document.” – Berenice Abbott
“If a medium is representational by nature of the realistic image formed by a lens, I see no reason why we should stand on our heads to distort that function. On the contrary, we should take hold of that very quality, make use of it, and explore it to the fullest.” – Berenice Abbott
“I didn’t decide to be a photographer; I just happened to fall into it.” – Berenice Abbott
“I took to photography like a duck to water. I never wanted to do anything else. Excitement about the subject is the voltage which pushes me over the mountain of drudgery necessary to produce the final photograph.” – Berenice Abbott
“Photography was the medium preeminently qualified to unite art with science. Photography was born in the years which ushered in the scientific age, an offspring of both science and art.” – Berenice Abbott
“You scientists are the worst photographers in the world and you need the best photographers in the world and I’m the one to do it.” – Berenice Abbott
“I wanted to combine science and photography in a sensible, unemotional way. Some people’s ideas of scientific photography is just arty design, something pretty. That was not the idea. The idea was to interpret science sensibly, with good proportion, good balance and good lighting, so we could understand it.” – Berenice Abbott
“I agree that all good photographs are documents, but I also know that all documents are certainly not good photographs. Furthermore, a good photographer does not merely document, he probes the subject, he “uncovers” it…” – Berenice Abbott
“A photograph is or should be significant document, a penetrating statement, which can be described in a very simple term – selectivity. To define selection, one may say that it should be focused on the kind of subject matter which hits you hard with its impact and excites your imagination to the extent that you are forced to take it. Pictures are wasted unless the motive power which impelled you to action is strong and stirring. The motives or points of view are bound to differ with each photographer, and herein lies the important difference which separates one approach from another. Selection of proper picture content comes from a fine union of trained eye and imaginative mind.” – Berenice Abbott
“…the art is in selecting what is worthwhile to take the trouble about…” – Berenice Abbott
“To chart a course, one must have a direction. In reality, the eye is no better than the philosophy behind it. The photographer creates, evolves a better, more selective, more acute eye by looking ever more sharply at what is going on in the world. Like every other means of expression, photography, if it is to be utterly honest and direct, should be related to the life of the times–the pulse of today. The photograph may be presented as finely and artistically as you will, but to merit serious consideration, must be directly connected with the world we live in.” – Berenice Abbott
“Abstraction in photography is ridiculous, and is only an imitation of painting. We stopped imitating painters a hundred years ago, so to imitate them in this day and age is laughable.” – Berenice Abbott
“Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.” – Berenice Abbott
“There are many teachers who could ruin you. Before you know it you could be a pale copy of this teacher or that teacher. You have to evolve on your own.” – Berenice Abbott
“The camera is no more an instrument of preservation, the image is.” – Berenice Abbott
“I haven’t seen too many images that have impressed me!” – Berenice Abbott
“Self-conscious artiness is fatal, but it certainly would not hurt to study composition in general. Having a basic understanding of composition would help construct a better organized image.” – Berenice Abbott
“The photograph may be presented as finely and artistically as you will; but to merit serious consideration, must be directly connected with the world we live in.” – Berenice Abbott
“I believe there is no more creative medium than photography to recreate the living world of our time…Photography gladly accepts the challenge because it is at home in its element: namely, realism—real life—the now.” – Berenice Abbott
“Like every other means of expression, photography, if it is to be utterly honest and direct, should be related to the life of the times – the pulse of today….The photograph…to merit serious consideration, must be directly connected with the world we live in.” – Berenice Abbott
“The photographer is the contemporary being par excellence; through his eyes the now becomes the past.” – Berenice Abbott
“Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.” – Berenice Abbott
“Does not the very word ‘creative’ mean to build, to initiate, to give out, to act – rather than to be acted upon, to be subjective? Living photography is positive in its approach, it sings a song of life – not death.” – Berenice Abbott
“Today we are confronted with reality on the vastest scale mankind has known and this puts a greater responsibility on the photographer.” – Berenice Abbott
“I am so fascinated with this century it will help keep me alive. I’ll be there until the last minute, fighting.” – Berenice Abbott
“Suppose we took a thousand negatives and made a gigantic montage: a myriad-faceted picture containing the elegances, the squalor, the curiosities, the monuments, the sad faces, the triumphant faces, the power, the irony, the strength, the decay, the past, the present, the future of a city – that would be my favorite picture.” – Berenice Abbott
Explore The Essential Collection of Quotes By Photographers here.
View The Essential Collection Of Photographers Documentaries here.
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by Sam Abell.
“One of the things that I most believe in is the compose and wait philosophy of photography. It’s a very satisfying, almost spiritual way to photograph. Life isn’t’ knocking you around, life isn’t controlling you. You have picked your place, you’ve picked your scene, you’ve picked your light, you’ve done all the decision making and you are waiting for the moment to come to you….” – Sam Abell
“But there is more to a fine photograph than information. We are also seeking to present an image that arouses the curiosity of the viewer or that, best of all, provokes the viewer to think – to ask a question or simply to gaze in thoughtful wonder. We know that photographs inform people. We also know that photographs move people. The photograph that does both is the one we want to see and make. It is the kind of picture that makes you want to pick up your own camera again and go to work.” – Sam Abell
“As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity, I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs. Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment – this very moment – to stay.” – Sam Abell
“My first priority when taking pictures is to achieve clarity. A good documentary photograph transmits the information of the situation with the utmost fidelity; achieving it means understanding the nuances of lighting and composition, and also remembering to keep the lenses clean and the cameras steady.” – Sam Abell
“And that desire – the strong desire to take pictures – is important. It borders on a need, based on a habit: the habit of seeing. Whether working or not, photographers are looking, seeing, and thinking about what they see, a habit that is both a pleasure and a problem, for we seldom capture in a single photograph the full expression of what we see and feel. It is the hope that we might express ourselves fully – and the evidence that other photographers have done so – that keep us taking pictures.” – Sam Abell
“Above all, it’s hard learning to live with vivid mental images of scenes I cared for and failed to photograph. It is the edgy existence within me of these unmade images that is the only assurance that the best photographs are yet to be made.” – Sam Abell
“You know you are seeing such a photograph if you say to yourself, “I could have taken that picture. I’ve seen such a scene before, but never like that.” It is the kind of photography that relies for its strengths not on special equipment or effects but on the intensity of the photographer’s seeing. It is the kind of photography in which the raw materials – light, space, and shape – are arranged in a meaningful and even universal way that gives grace to ordinary objects.” – Sam Abell
“In my work, the most elaborate – and essential – accessory is a standard tripod. For spiritual companions I have had the many artists who have relied on nature to help shape their imagination. And their most elaborate equipment was a deep reverence for the world through which they passed. Photographers share something with these artists. We seek only to see and to describe with our own voices, and, though we are seldom heard as soloists, we cannot photograph the world in any other way.” – Sam Abell
“It matters little how much equipment we use; it matters much that we be masters of all we do use.” – Sam Abell
“…just like some people’s instinct to photograph is triggered by vacation… assignments might be that to me and that’s why I’ve built my life around assignments. That was the way to live the photographic life.” – Sam Abell
“I think of myself as a writer who photographs. Images, for me, can be considered poems, short stories or essays. And I’ve always thought the best place for my photographs was inside books of my own creation.” – Sam Abell
“There isn’t an aspect of book creation I don’t enjoy, and there has always been a book in my life to dream about or work on.” – Sam Abell
“Life rarely presents fully finished photographs. An image evolves, often from a single strand of visual interest – a distant horizon, a moment of light, a held expression.” – Sam Abell
“The neatest part of this book I’m working on – to me – are the pictures that show the process… Because photographers… think things through and… it isn’t luck, and it isn’t random and it isn’t accidental. It isn’t.” – Sam Abell
“My best work is often almost unconscious and occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.” – Sam Abell
“A mad, keen photographer needs to get out into the world and work and make mistakes.” – Sam Abell
“In almost every photograph I have ever made, there is something I would do to complete it. I take that to be the spirit hole or the deliberate mistake that’s in a Navajo rug to not be godlike, but to be human.” – Sam Abell
“Photographs that transcend but do not deny their literal situation appeal to me.” – Sam Abell
“The best lesson I was given is that all of life teaches, especially if we have that expectation.” – Sam Abell
“How the visual world appears is important to me. I’m always aware of the light. I’m always aware of what I would call the ‘deep composition.’ Photography in the field is a process of creation, of thought and technique. But ultimately, it’s an act of imaginatively seeing from within yourself.” – Sam Abell
“Essentially what photography is is life lit up.” – Sam Abell
Find out more about Sam Abell’s Photographic Life here.
Find more photographer’s quotes here.
View photographer’s favorite quotes here.
Joyce Tenneson shares her favorite quotes.
This is my favorite from her selection.
“When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Which is your favorite of her selected quotes?
Read more of Joyce’s favorite quotes here.
Read her quick Q&A here.
Read our extended conversation here.
Find out more about Joyce Tenneson here.
Read more Photographer’s Favorite Quotes here.
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by photographer Ruth Bernhard.
“Every artist, in a sense, is missionary. He tries to convey a message to his fellow man – he communicates the awesome presence of truth and beauty he discover in the world around him, in its lakes and mountains, trees, rocks and plants, in its living creatures. Down through the centuries poets, sculptors, painters and now photographers, have also been striving to grasp and immortalize the beauty of the human body, both male and female. I see in these forms the elemental relationship to the large forms of nature; a sense of strength like a rock – fluidity like water – space like a mountain range. If I have chosen the female form in particular, it is because beauty has been debased and exploited in our sensual twentieth century. We seem to have a need to turn innocent nature into evil ugliness be the twist of the mind. Woman has been target of much that is sordid and cheap, especially in photography. To raise, to elevate, to endorse with timeless reverence the image of woman, has been my mission – the reason for my work.” – Ruth Bernhard
“Photography is art when it’s used by an artist.” – Ruth Bernhard
“A person cannot learn to be a photographer. He can only cultivate what he already has. I try to make people aware that they have something very precious to cultivate.” – Ruth Bernhard
“If you’re not interested in life, then photography has no meaning.” – Ruth Bernhard
“If you are not passionately devoted to an idea, you can make very pleasant pictures but they won’t make you cry.” – Ruth Bernhard
“Fall in love. Every day. With everything. With life. If you can fall in love, you can be a photographer. I think that is absolutely essential.” – Ruth Bernhard
“I always said “yes” to everything.” – Ruth Bernhard
“There is no such thing as taking too much time, because your soul is in that picture.” – Ruth Bernhard
“For me, the creation of a photograph is experienced as a heightened emotional response, most akin to poetry and music, each image the culmination of a compelling impulse I cannot deny. Whether working with a human figure or a still life, I am deeply aware of my spiritual connection with it. In my life, as in my work, I am motivated by a great yearning for balance and harmony beyond the realm of human experience, reaching for the essence of oneness with the Universe.” – Ruth Bernhard
“Light is my inspiration. My photographic images search for dimensions that words cannot touch– the result of intense responses to personal experiences. I do not wish to “record,” but rather to touch upon the illusive meanings which I perceive and try to comprehend in this limitless universe.” – Ruth Bernhard
“Light is my inspiration, my paint and brush. It is as vital as the model herself. Profoundly significant, it caresses the essential superlative curves and lines. Light I acknowledge as the energy upon which all life on this planet depends.” – Ruth Bernhard
“My quest, through the magic of light and shadow, is to isolate, to simplify and to give emphasis to form with the greatest clarity. To indicate the ideal proportion, to reveal sculptural mass and the dominating spirit is my goal.” – Ruth Bernhard
“What the human eye sees is an illusion of what is real. The black and white image transforms illusions into another reality.” – Ruth Bernhard
“If you can’t make the image bigger or more important than what you see, then don’t push the button.” – Ruth Bernhard
“Never ever say the word shoot when you are taking a picture with a camera because a camera is not a violent weapon.” – Ruth Bernhard
“I expect photographs to find me. I never thought of looking for them. I instinctively put them (props) there. My intellect had nothing to do with it.” – Ruth Bernhard
“You have to follow your instinct all the time. Otherwise you don’t make it.” – Ruth Bernhard
“I never question what to do, it tells me what to do. The photographs make themselves with my help.” – Ruth Bernhard
“If you are not willing to see more than is visible, you won’t see anything.” – Ruth Bernhard
“Everything is one and I am one with it.” – Ruth Bernhard
View this video on Ruth Bernhard.
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.
“All photographers have to do, is find and catch the story-telling moment.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“It’s important to understand it’s OK to control the subject. If most editorial stories were photographed just as they are, editors would end up throwing most in the waste basket. You have to work hard at making an editorial picture. You need to re-stage things, rearrange things so that they work for the story, with truth and without lying.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“I have to be as much diplomat as a photographer.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“In a photograph a person’s eyes tell much, sometimes they tell all.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“It’s more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“I don’t like to work with assistants. I’m already one too many; the camera alone would be enough.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“My style hasn’t changed much in all these sixty years. I still use, most of the time, existing light and try not to push people around. I have to be as much a diplomat as a photographer. People don’t often take me seriously because I carry so little equipment and make so little fuss… I never carried a lot of equipment. My motto has always been, “Keep it simple.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“With photography, everything is in the eye and these days I feel young photographers are missing the point a bit. People always ask about cameras but it doesn’t matter what camera you have. You can have the most modern camera in the world but if you don’t have an eye, the camera is worthless. Young people know more about modern cameras and lighting than I do. When I started out in photography I didn’t own an exposure meter – I couldn’t , they didn’t exist! I had to guess.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“I don’t use an exposure meter. My personal advice is: Spend the money you would put into such an instrument for film. Buy yards of film, miles of it. Buy all the film you can get your hands on. And then experiment with it.That is the only way to be successful in photography. Test, try, experiment, feel your way along. It is the experience, not technique, which counts in camera work first of all. If you get the feel of photography, you can take fifteen pictures while one of your opponents is trying out his exposure meter.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“Today’s photographers think differently. Many can’t see real light anymore. They think only in terms of strobe – sure, it all looks beautiful but it’s not really seeing. If you have the eyes to see it, the nuances of light are already there on the subject’s face. If your thinking is confined to strobe light sources, your palette becomes very mean – which is the reason I photograph only in available light.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“I always prefer photographing in available light – or Rembrandt-light I like to call it – so you get the natural modulations of the face. It makes a more alive, real, and flattering portrait.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“Once the amateur’s naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“I enjoy traveling and recording far-away places and people with my camera. But I also find it wonderfully rewarding to see what I can discover outside my own window. You only need to study the scene with the eyes of a photographer.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“People will never understand the patience a photographer requires to make a great photograph, all they see is the end result. I can stand in front of a leaf with a dew drop, or a rain drop, and stay there for ages just waiting for the right moment. Sure, people think I’m crazy, but who cares? I see more than they do!” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“We are only beginning to learn what to say in a photograph. The world we live in is a succession of fleeting moments, any one of which might say something significant.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“The way I would describe a pictorial is that it is a picture that makes everybody say ‘Aaaaah,’ with five vowels when they see it. It is something you would like to hang on the wall. The french word ‘photogenique’ defines it better than anything in English. It is a picture which must have quality, drama, and it must, in addition, be as good technically as you can possible make it.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“I seldom think when I take a picture. My eyes and fingers react – click. But first, it’s most important to decide on the angle at which your photograph is to be taken.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“The important thing is not the camera but the eye.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“I dream that someday the step between my mind and my finger will no longer be needed. And that simply by blinking my eyes, I shall make pictures. Then, I think, I shall really have become a photographer.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“Yes, I sold buttons to earn living. But I took pictures to keep on living. Pictures are my life – as necessary as eating or breathing.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
“Retire? Retire from What? Life? I will only retire when I am dead!” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
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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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