With inimitably quiet wit Elliot Erwitt shares his thoughts about photography.
View more in The Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers.
Read more in The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.
“It’s about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.” – Elliott Erwitt
“I’m an amateur photographer, apart from being a professional one, and I think maybe my amateur pictures are the better ones.” – Elliott Erwitt
“I’ll always be an amateur photographer.” – Elliott Erwitt
“I’m not a serious photographer like many of my contemporaries. That is to say, I am serious about not being serious.” – Elliott Erwitt
“It’s just seeing – at least the photography I care about. You either see or you don’t see. The rest is academic. Anyone can learn how to develop. It’s how you organize what you see into a picture.” – Elliott Erwitt
“Making pictures is a very simple act. There is no great secret in photography…schools are a bunch of crap. You just need practice and application of what you’ve learned. My absolute conviction is that if you are working reasonably well the only important thing is to keep shooting…it doesn’t matter whether you are making money or not. Keep working, because as you go through the process of working things begin to happen.” – Elliott Erwitt
“Photography is pretty simple stuff. You just react to what you see, and take many, many pictures.” – Elliott Erwitt
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt
Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer John Sexton.
“It is light that reveals, light that obscures, light that communicates. It is light I “listen” to. The light late in the day has a distinct quality, as it fades toward the darkness of evening. After sunset there is a gentle leaving of the light, the air begins to still, and a quiet descends. I see magic in the quiet light of dusk. I feel quite, yet intense energy in the natural elements of our habitat. A sense of magic prevails. A sense of mystery. It is a time for contemplation, for listening – a time for making photographs.” – John Sexton
“I think the greatest photographers are the amateur photographers who do it because they love it. Arnold Newman is a good example; he is a consummate professional, but he’s also an ‘amateur’ in the pure sense of the word.” – John Sexton
“When I’m about ready to press the cable release on the View camera, I’ve tried to anticipate some of the challenges I’m going to encounter in the darkroom.” – John Sexton
“Some times I’ll peek out from underneath the focusing cloth and just look around the edges of the frame that I’m not seeing, see if there’s something that should be adjusted in terms of changing the camera position.” – John Sexton
“Pictures you have taken have an influence on those that you are going to make.” – John Sexton
“The reason I do workshops is so I can learn, and I am fortunate that I’ve probably gained more from the whole experience of teaching than any one participant has. It is all about asking.” – John Sexton
“A photographer needs to be a good editor of negatives and prints! In fact, most of the prints I make are for my eyes only, and they are no good. I find the single most valuable tool in the darkroom is my trash can – that’s where most of my prints end up.” – John Sexton
“Many photographers are consumed with the idea of making beautiful contact sheets. I am far more interested in making the best final print I can.” – John Sexton
“For me the printing process is part of the magic of photography. It’s that magic that can be exciting, disappointing, rewarding and frustrating all in the same few moments in the darkroom.” – John Sexton
“I’ve found even after nearly 30 years of doing this, there are all kinds of new surprises that rear their heads at various times and I truly believe that 51% of the images, success takes place in the darkroom.” – John Sexton
“There is a considerable amount of manipulation in the printmaking from the straight photograph to the finished print. If I do my job correctly that shouldn’t be visible at all, it should be transparent.” – John Sexton
“I support any procedure that allows photographers to express themselves, whether that involves color, black and white, platinum, palladium and digital technology.” – John Sexton
“I find the surface of a photograph a thing of beauty in and of itself, and it is this surface that makes a photograph unique relative to other two-dimensional media.” – John Sexton
“Whatever it takes to get the image to reach that level is what that photographer needs to do.” – John Sexton
“When the object that is produced, the photographic image has the ability to make tears come to your eyes; to inspire you to the point where you have to catch your breath, then nothing else matters.” – John Sexton
“We all start in this medium because of the magic and the challenge is to keep it going.” – John Sexton
“I really don’t have any secrets. I’ve never met a photographer whose work I respected that had a secret because the secret lies within each and every one of us.” – John Sexton
View 12 Great Photographs By John Sexton here.
Watch a documentary on John Sexton 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.
Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Michael Kenna.
“I do have strong convictions and political opinions, but I don’t think it’s necessary to imbue my photographic work with them. I use photography as a vessel for visual material to flow through, to encourage conversation with the viewer. I try to present a catalyst and invite viewers to tell their own stories.” – Michael Kenna
“I find that when one has worked long enough, technical know-how becomes almost irrelevant. In photography, it’s not difficult to reach a technical level where you don’t need to think about the technique any more. I think there is far too much literature and far too much emphasis upon the techniques of photography. The make of camera and type of film we happen to use has little bearing on the results.” – Michael Kenna
“I don’t have any particular method to my madness. When I decide “what” I want to photograph, I choose the appropriate locations. Sometimes I choose “where” I want to photograph, then look for the “what” when I get there! Simple – no magic involved. I have a theory, which seems to work for me, that the best ideas come through thinking about something else! One of my hobbies is long distance running. I find there is something therapeutic and hypnotic in this activity, similar to practicing landscape photography. While thinking about one thing, and being active at the same time, other ideas float in and out. These floating ideas usually turn out to be the catalysts for my future projects.” – Michael Kenna
“I sincerely believe it is normal and healthy to study the work of other artists, and even imitate other’s efforts, as a means to explore one’s personal vision. It has been thus throughout history in all mediums of creative expression. One advances by “standing on the shoulders of giants”. The perspective becomes a lot clearer from such high ground. On my own journey, I have actively tried to see through the eyes of many well known photographers, including but not limited to Atget, Bernhard, Brandt, Callahan, Cartier Bresson, Giacomelli, Misrach, Scheeler, Steiglitz, Sudek, Sugimoto, Weston (Brett) and many others. I have gone to places where they have photographed and have consciously and unconsciously emulated their style and subject matter. Other artists, in many mediums, have greatly helped my own development as a photographer. As small tokens of appreciation, I have often credited those influences openly by including their names in the titles of work. I have done this out of basic courtesy and respect. I do not feel that I have ever stolen from these artists.” – Michael Kenna
“I think style is just the end result of personal experience. It would be problematic for me to photograph in another style. I’m drawn to places and subject matter that have personal connections for me and I photograph in a way that seems right. Where does it all come from, who knows?” – Michael Kenna
“I often think of my work as visual haiku. It is an attempt to evoke and suggest through as few elements as possible rather than to describe with tremendous detail.” – Michael Kenna
“It’s possible to think of photography as an act of editing, a matter of where you put your rectangle pull it out or take it away. Sometimes people ask me about films, cameras and development times in order to find out how to do landscape photography. The first thing I do in landscape photography is go out there and talk to the land – form a relationship, ask permission, it’s not about going out there like some paparazzi with a Leica and snapping a few pictures, before running off to print them.” – Michael Kenna
“The first time, I usually skim off the outer layer and end up with photographs that are fairly obvious. The second time, I have to look a little deeper. The images get more interesting. The third time it is even more challenging and on each subsequent occasion, the images should get stronger, but it takes more effort to get them.” – Michael Kenna
“Getting photographs is not the most important thing. For me it’s the act of photographing. It’s enlightening, therapeutic and satisfying, because the very process forces me to connect with the world. When you make four-hour exposures in the middle of the night, you inevitably slow down and begin to observe and appreciate more what’s going on around you. In our fast-paced, modern world, it’s a luxury to be able to watch the stars move across the sky.” – Michael Kenna
“Life is about turning up. The more you get yourself out there, whether you wake up at 5:00 a.m. to pouring rain or not, the more you’re likely to experience the wonderful happenings that are going on all around you. Sometimes the most interesting visual phenomena occur when you least expect it. Other times, you think you’re getting something amazing and the photographs turn out to be boring and predictable. So I think that’s why, a long time ago, I consciously tried to let go of artist’s angst, and instead just hope for the best and enjoy it. I love the journey as much as the destination. If I wasn’t a photographer, I’d still be a traveler.” – Michael Kenna
“There are many characteristics associated with night photography that make it fascinating. We are used to working with a single light source, the sun, so multiple lights that come from an assortment of directions can be quite surreal, and theatrical. Drama is usually increased with the resulting deep shadows from artificial lights. These shadows can invite us to imagine what is hidden. I particularly like what happens with long exposures, for example, moving clouds produce unique areas of interesting density in the sky, stars and planes produce white lines, rough water transforms into ice or mist, etc. Film can accumulate light and record events that our eyes are incapable of seeing. The aspect of unpredictability inherent with night exposures can also be a good antidote for previsualization…” – Michael Kenna
“When exposures last hours rather than fractions of a second, there is much time for watching. Sometimes it is a basic concern for security but at others it is a more meditational activity. I watch the sky and imagine what patterns the clouds and stars will make on my film. I watch the water, the leaves on the trees, passing cars, changing shadows, smoke from chimneys, whatever is around. Wind, rain, mist, etc., all have effects on the eventual image. We live pretty fast-paced lives so it is a luxury to be able to slow down and better appreciate some of the more subtle effects of nature that we can so easily miss or take for granted.” – Michael Kenna
“Photographing at night can be fascinating because we lose some of the control over what happens in front of the camera. Over a period of time the world changes; rivers flow, planes fly by, clouds pass and the earth’s position relative to the stars is different. This accumulation of time and events, impossible for the human eye to take in, can be recorded on film. For the photographer, real can become surreal, which is exciting. During the day, when most photographs are made, scenes are usually viewed from the vantage-point of a fixed single light source, the sun. At night the light can come from unusual and multiple sources. There can be deep shadows which act as catalysts for our imagination. There is often a sense of drama, a story about to be told, secrets revealed, actors about to enter onto the stage. The night has vast potential for creativity.” – Michael Kenna
“I gravitate towards places where humans have been and are no more, to the edge of man’s influence, where the elements are taking over or covering man’s traces.” – Michael Kenna
“Parks and gardens are the quintessential intimate landscapes. People use them all the time, leaving their energy and memories behind. It’s what’s left behind that I like to photograph.” – Michael Kenna
“In my photographic work I’m generally attracted to places that contain memories, history, atmospheres and stories. I’m interested in the places where people have lived, worked and played. I look for traces of the past, visual fingerprints, evidence of activities – they fire my imagination and connect into my own personal experiences. Using the analogy of the theater, I would say that I like to photograph the empty stage, before or after the performance, even in between acts. I love the atmosphere of anticipation, the feeling in the air that events have happened, or will happen soon…” – Michael Kenna
“Perhaps most intriguing of all is that it is possible to photograph what is impossible for the human eye to see – cumulative time.” – Michael Kenna
“Nothing is ever the same twice because everything is always gone forever, and yet each moment has infinite photographic possibilities.” – Michael Kenna
View 12 Great Photographs By Michael Kenna.
Read a conversation with Michael Kenna.
View a video with Michael Kenna here.
Explore quotes in The Essential Collection Quotes By Photographers.
Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Emmet Gowin.
“Photography is a tool for dealing with things everybody knows about but isn’t attending to. My photographs are intended to represent something you don’t see.” – Emmet Gowin
“All important pictures embody something that we do not yet understand.” – Emmet Gowin
“The challenge of photography is to show the thing photographed so that our feelings are awakened and hidden aspects are revealed to us.” – Emmet Gowin
“As a good picture would come, I would never know exactly what I had done. When you did see it, it would strike you as a great surprise – who did that? How did it happen? Being surprised by your own work makes you both less serious and have serious reverence.” – Emmet Gowin
“Of course, this is one of the really important things about art, that you can make more than you can understand at the moment the thing is being made. But the gap between what we recognize inside ourselves – our feelings- and our ability to trust ourselves and to trust exposing ourselves to those ideas, can be great.” – Emmet Gowin
“It might take us a lifetime to find out what it is we need to say. Most of us fall into where our feelings are headed while we’re quite young. But the beauty of all this uncertainty would be that in the process of exhausting all the possibilities, we might actually stumble unconsciously into the recognition of something that’s useful to us, that speaks to a deep need within ourselves. At the same time, I like to think that in order for any of us to really do anything new, we can’t know exactly what it is we are doing.” – Emmet Gowin
“The authentic thing is to follow your heart, your instincts, your emotions. If you located yourself in an idea, your life would be lived very sadly.” – Emmet Gowin
“The picture is like a prayer, an offering, and hopefully an opening through which to seek what we don’t know, or already know and should take seriously.” – Emmet Gowin
“This is the gift of the landscape photograph, that the heart finds a place to stand.” – Emmet Gowin
“I feel that whatever picture an artist makes it is in part a picture of himself — a matter of identity.” – Emmet Gowin
“What’s great is that the picture is already taken before it goes public. It’s in secret. The trust that develops from such a habit engenders risk, and you realize you’re not as vulnerable as you thought. Once you become comfortable with being more truthful about who you are, the easier it is, the prouder you become. That’s the way it unfolded for us.” – Emmet Gowin
“Twentieth-century art has allowed me to see things in a cryptic way. I love the butterfly’s wings, which disappear when folded and when open leave this brilliant, intense pronouncement of nature, ‘Here I am.’” – Emmet Gowin
“I am pessimistic about a picture’s power to be the emissary of just one thing. What I hope is that the picture says, “Here I am, this is what I am like,” and the person seeing the picture says in return, ‘You know a lot but you don’t know half of what I know.’” – Emmet Gowin
“I was going round the world searching for an interesting place, when I realized that the place that I was in was already interesting.” – Emmet Gowin
“I made 10 times as many images as the other students,” he says of the early years. “I destroyed all those negatives except a few. I did it as a reminder that you can’t afford to waste time: take it seriously.” – Emmet Gowin
Read a conversation with Emmet Gowin here.
Watch a video on Emmet Gowin here.
Find more quotes in The Essential Collection Quotes By Photographers.
Enjoy this collection of quotes by Eliot Porter.
“Every photograph that is made whether by one who considers himself a professional, or by the tourist who points his snapshot camera and pushes a button, is a response to the exterior world, to something perceived outside himself by the person who operates the camera.” – Eliot Porter
“Photographs are believed more than words; thus they can be used persuasively to show people who have never taken the trouble to look what is there.” – Eliot Porter
“Photography is a strong tool, a propaganda device, and a weapon for the defense of the environment…and therefore for the fostering of a healthy human race and even very likely for its survival.” – Eliot Porter
“I don’t think it’s necessary to put your feelings about photography in words. I’ve read things that photographers have written for exhibitions and so forth about their subjective feelings about photography and mostly I think it’s disturbing. I think they’re fooling themselves very often. They’re just talking, they’re not saying anything.” – Eliot Porter
“I do not photograph for ulterior purposes. I photograph for the thing itself — for the photograph — without consideration of how it may be used.” – Eliot Porter
“You learn to see by practice. It’s just like playing tennis, you get better the more you play. The more you look around at things, the more you see. The more you photograph, the more you realize what can be photographed and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.” – Eliot Porter
“Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.” – Eliot Porter
“But before all else a work of art is the creation of love. Love for the subject first and for the medium second. Love is the fundamental necessity underlying the need to create, underlying the emotion that gives it form, and from which grows the unfinished product that is presented to the world. Love is the general criterion by which the rare photograph is judged. It must contain it to be not less than the best of which the photographer is capable.” – Eliot Porter
“My emotions, instincts, and interests are all with nature.” – Eliot Porter
“Much is missed if we have eyes only for the bright colors. Nature should be viewed without distinction… She makes no choice herself; everything that happens has equal significance. Nothing can be dispensed with. This is a common mistake that many people make: They think that half of nature can be destroyed — the uncomfortable half — while still retaining the acceptable and the pleasing side.” – Eliot Porter
View 1 2 Great Photographs By Eliot Porter.
View a documentary on Eliot Porter here.
Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on Persistence.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins
“There are two ways of attaining an important end, force and perseverance; the silent power of the latter grows irresistible with time.” – Sophie Swetchine
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ― Calvin Coolidge
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” – Bill Bradley
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” ― Thomas A. Edison
“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller
Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer John Pfahl.
“People think the camera steals their soul. Places, I am convinced, are affected in the opposite direction. The more they are photographed (or drawn and painted) the more soul they seem to accumulate.” – John Pfahl
“It would have been possible to structure my photographs in such a way that no indicators of the present were discernible. However, I wanted to incorporate into the project as a whole the jostling of time-frames I would feel as I set up my tripod on various rocky promontories.” – John Pfahl
“I often wondered why I was attracted to certain landscapes and not others and why my photographs (and depictions by other artists) looked the way they did, Archetypes imprinted on my mind started me on a search …” – John Pfahl
“Somehow I felt that if Fox Talbot had had more time and more drawing talent, he would have filled in the interval between his two drawings and made a complete panorama. Now, 163 years later, I was able to use his great invention to elaborate on his youthful dream of capturing and fixing the fleeting image. In doing so, I may also have added another little bit to the soul of this extraordinary place.” – John Pfahl
“I have been using the art of photography to research the ways in which the pictorial strategies of the Nineteenth Century color the way in which the American landscape is apprehended by today’s viewers.” – John Pfahl
“Photography, of course, is the perfect medium for the investigation. It can reveal the truth of present day specifics and particularities, while at the same time, by conscious choice of lighting and pictorial structure, suggest the aesthetic legacy of the past.” – John Pfahl
“It is not without trepidation that I have appropriated the codes of “the Sublime” and “the Picturesque” in my work. After all, serious photographers have spent most of this century trying to expunge such extravagances from their art. The tradition lives on, mostly in calendars and picture postcards. I was challenged to rework and revitalize that which had been so roundly denigrated.” – John Pfahl
“While making my “picture window” photographs, I came to think that every room was like a gigantic camera forever pointed at the same view.”” – John Pfahl
“Strangers with puzzled looks were amazingly cooperative in letting me into their rooms with my photographic gear. They let me take down the curtains, wash the windows, and rearrange the furniture. Often, too, they expressed their desire to share their view with others, as if it were a non-depletable treasure.
I liked the idea that my photographic vantage points were not solely determined by myself. They were predetermined by others, sometimes years earlier, and patiently waited for me to discover them.” – John Pfahl
“As Estelle Jussim wrote, it is almost impossible for a single photograph to state both the problem and the solution.” – John Pfahl
“I became wary of simple interpretations that assumed fixed and final meanings.” – John Pfahl
“I want to make photographs whose very ambiguity provokes thought, rather than cuts it off prematurely. I want to make pictures that work on a more mysterious level, that approach the truth by a more circuitous route.” – John Pfahl
Find out more about John Pfahl here.
Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.
Enjoy this collection of quotes by Hiroshi Sugimoto.
“My method is different from the one most photographers use. I do not go around and shoot. I usually have a specific vision, just by myself. One night I thought of taking a photographic exposure of a film at a movie theater while the film was being projected. I imagined how it could be possible to shoot an entire movie with my camera. Then I had the clear vision that the movie screen would show up on the picture as a white rectangle. I thought it could look like a very brilliant white rectangle coming out from the screen, shining throughout the whole theater. It might seem very interesting and mysterious, even in some way religious.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“Fossils work almost the same way as photography… as a record of history. The accumulation of time and history becomes a negative of the image. And this negative comes off, and the fossil is the positive side. This is the same as the action of photography.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“When people call me a photographer, I always feel like something of a charlatan—at least in Japanese. The word shashin, for photograph, combines the characters sha, meaning to reflect or copy, and shin, meaning truth, hence the photographer seems to entertain grand delusions of portraying truth.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“People have been reading photography as a true document, at the same time they are now getting suspicious. I am basically an honest person, so I let the camera capture whatever it captures… whether you believe it or not is up to you; it’s not my responsibility, blame my camera, not me.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“Humans have changed the landscape so much, but images of the sea could be shared with primordial people. I just project my imagination on to the viewer, even the first human being. I think first and then imagine some scenes. Then I go out and look for them. Or I re-create these images with my camera. I love photography because photography is the most believable medium. Painting can lie, but photography never lies: that is what people used to believe.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“It’s pre-photography, a fossilization of time, … Americans have done the Zen garden to death. I wanted to do something different.”
“I didn’t want to be criticized for taking low-quality photographs, so I tried to reach the best, highest quality of photography and then to combine this with a conceptual art practice. But thinking back, that was the wrong decision [laughs]. Developing a low-quality aesthetic is a sign of serious fine art—I still see this.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“If I already have a vision, my work is almost done. The rest is a technical problem.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“Art is technique: a means by which to materialize the invisible realm of the mind.” — Hiroshi Sugimoto
“I’m inviting the spirits into my photography. It’s an act of God.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto
“Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention―and yet they vouchsafe our very existence. The beginnings of life are shrouded in myth: Let there water and air. Living
phenomena spontaneously generated from water and air in the presence of light, though that could just as easily suggest random coincidence as a Deity. Let’s just say that there happened to be a planet with water and air in our solar system, and moreover at precisely the right istance from the sun for the temperatures required to coax forth life. While hardly inconceivable that at least one such planet should exist in the vast reaches of universe, we search in vain for another similar example. Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto