Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes by photographer Richard Avedon.
“I hate cameras. They interfere, they’re always in the way. I wish: if I could just work with my eyes alone.” – Richard Avedon
“I believe that you’ve got to love your work so much that it is all you want to do.” – Richard Avedon
“And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up. I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible.” – Richard Avedon
“I think all art is about control – the encounter between control and the uncontrollable.” – Richard Avedon
“Anything is an art if you do it at the level of an art.” – Richard Avedon
“Camera lies all the time. It’s all it does is lie, because when you choose this moment instead of this moment, when you… the moment you’ve made a choice, you’re lying about something larger. ‘Lying’ is an ugly word. I don’t mean lying. But any artist picks and chooses what they want to paint or write about or say. Photographers are the same.” – Richard Avedon
“There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” – Richard Avedon
“It’s in trying to direct the traffic between Artiface [sic] and Candor, without being run over, that I’m confronted with the questions about photography that matter most to me.” – Richard Avedon
“I’ve worked out of a series of no’s. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no’s force me to the “yes.” I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in and the thing that happens between us.” – Richard Avedon
“My photographs don’t go below the surface. They don’t go below anything. They’re readings of the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues.” – Richard Avedon
“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” – Richard Avedon
“The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion ….” – Richard Avedon
“There’s always been a separation between fashion and what I call my “deeper” work. Fashion is where I make my living. I’m not knocking it. It’s a pleasure to make a living that way. It’s pleasure, and then there’s the deeper pleasure of doing my portraits. It’s not important what I consider myself to be, but I consider myself to be a portrait photographer.” – Richard Avedon
“Whenever I become absorbed in the beauty of a face, in the excellence of a single feature, I feel I’ve lost what’s really there…been seduced by someone else’s standard of beauty or by the sitter’s own idea of the best in him. That’s not usually the best. So each sitting becomes a contest.” – Richard Avedon
“The pictures have a reality for me that the people don’t. It is through the photographs that I know them.” – Richard Avedon
“I am always stimulated by people. Almost never by ideas.” – Richard Avedon
“A portrait photographer depends upon another person to complete his picture. The subject imagined, which in a sense is me, must be discovered in someone else willing to take part in a fiction he cannot possibly know about.” – Richard Avedon
“A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks. He’s implicated in what’s happened, and he has a certain real power over the result.” – Richard Avedon
“Snapshots that have been taken of me working show something I was not aware of at all, that over and over again I’m holding my own body or my own hands exactly like the person I’m photographing. I never knew I did that, and obviously what I’m doing is trying to feel, actually physically feel, the way he or she feels at the moment I’m photographing them in order to deepen the sense of connection.” – Richard Avedon
“If each photograph steals a bit of the soul, isn’t it possible that I give up pieces of mine every time I take a picture?” – Richard Avedon
“My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph.” – Richard Avedon
“Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of me. My concern is … the human predicament; only what I consider the human predicament may simply be my own.” – Richard Avedon
Read more Photographer’s Quotes here.
“He is one of the most influential and innovative photographers in the fashion industry and one of the first to elevate his craft into a true art, dominated more by the artist’s vision than the subject itself. This documentary tells his story. With an eclectic blend of biographical information, his work, and his commentary upon it, the film tells his story in a non-linear way. Highlights include his description of how he got a teen-age Natassja Kinski to pose naked with a large python crawling across her body and his memory of the night Marilyn Monroecame to his place and danced for hours while he photographed.” – Sandra Brennan Rovi
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