Sam Abell from Stay this Moment

A mad, keen photographer needs to get out in the world and work and make mistakes. 

I believe in the resonance and staying power of quiet photographs.

Spiritually driven work constitutes the core of photography’s contribution to culture.

A tripod allows me to linger over a composition for more than a moment. 

Photography produces pleasure by simplicity.

Photoshop is a dark art.  Improvement is not photography; seeing is photography.  (from a talk in NYC 2015)

Compose your picture, and wait.

Bad weather makes good pictures.


Ansel Adams

There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.

A good photograph is knowing where to stand.

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

You don't take a photograph, you make it.


Eddie Adams

Still photographs are the most powerful weapons in the world.  People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation.  They are only half-truths.

I think all war should be shot in black and white.  It's more primitive.  Color tends to make things look too nice.


William Albert Allard

The difference between a good picture and a really fine picture is very often a matter of inches.  It's how you're putting that space together and that's where your sense of grace and balance come in.  It's how you see.  You're responsible for every little bit of space in that picture, but it's intuitive.

Leica M6.  That's what a camera should feel like.

Pick a bird.  A hunter will miss if he fires his shotgun into a flock of birds.  He has to pick a bird.  When a subject is visually rich you have to pick a bird.


Brigitte Bardot

A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.


Marcus Bleasdale

For a lot of photographers the photograph is the ultimate goal, but for me it's the start of the process.  It's not the individual photograph, it's what you do with it and who you engage with it that makes it powerful.


Chris Boot (Executive Director, Aperture)

You've got to have a new idea.  You've got to have a new way of photographing something.  You've got to offer people something new that gets them excited.  You can't just work in the style of _____, and expect to build an audience.  There's got to be something above and beyond just, "these are good street photographs."


Nick Brandt

Whatever happens in the real world is going to outdo anything you could create in Photoshop.

Each of us can be an incremental cog in the wheel of planetary improvement.


Wynn Bullock

Mysteries lie all around us, even in the most familiar settings, waiting only to be perceived.

When I photograph, what I'm really doing is seeking answers to things.

The urge to photograph comes in part from the deep desire to live with more integrity, to live more in peace with the world, and possibly to help others to do the same.

You can expand your reality by developing new ways of perceiving.


Robert Capa

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.

I hope to stay unemployed as a war photographer till the end of my life.

[Capa was killed by a landmine in Viet Nam]


Paul Caponigro

It's one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it's another thing to make a protrait of who they are.


Henri Cartier-Bresson from The Mind’s Eye

One must always take photographs with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself.  

I had just discovered the Leica.  It became the extension of my eye, and I have never been separated from it since I found it.

Twenty-five years have passed since I started to look through my view-finder.  But I regard myself still as an amateur, though I am no longer a dilettante.

In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject.

We photographers, in the course of taking pictures, inevitably make a judgement on what we see, and that implies a great responsibility.

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.

HCB from other sources:

What is photojournalism? Occasionally, a very unique photo, in which form is precise and rich enough and content has enough resonance, is sufficient in itself - but that's rarely the case. The elements of a subject that speak to us are often scattered and can't be captured in one photo; we don't have the right to force them together, and to stage them would be cheating... which brings us to the need for photojournalism. 

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.

Shooting with a Leica is like a long, tender kiss.

You just have to live and life will give you pictures.

It is the photo that takes you.

It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

To take a photograph is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in a face of fleeing reality.  It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

It is putting one, head, one, eye, and one, heart on the same axis.

Think about the photo before and after, never during.  The secret is to take your time.  You mustn't go too fast.  The subject must forget about you.  Then, however, you must be very quick.

To photograph:  it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.


Edgar Degas

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.


Albert Einstein

The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious.


Elliott Erwitt

All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.

It's not the camera that takes the picture, it's the photographer.  You can take a picture with anything.

If it hasn’t been photographed it doesn’t really exist.

It’s about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.

You don't need to know much in order to be a photographer; what you need to do is simply to look.


Larry Fink

If you don't take a chance you don't get a chance.


David Fokos

I’ve been photographing for 30 years and I have 60 photographs in my portfolio.

Photography is not about the equipment, so anything you can do to minimize the amount of time you spend thinking about it and fiddling with it, the better. For example, I use only one lens. If I had more than one lens I would have to stop to choose which one to use – I would be thinking about the equipment. When you have too many choices it’s possible to be paralyzed by indecision. Ironically, giving up choice actually gives me more freedom.

Choose one subject and explore it deeply.


Stuart Franklin from The Documentary Impulse

Photographs form part of a complex surfacing of knowledge that inspires politicians, diplomats and cultural luminaries to lead action.

While photographers in the field may take a view about what is happening somewhere in the world, that view may become radically altered when editors assembling the material in London, New York or Paris wish to paint their own picture of events.

The only clear space where documentary photographers have felt free to set out their own stories  - as authors - is in making photobooks, which is why photobooks have become, over time, the heart and soul of documentary practice.


Gianni Berengo Gardin

I believe in the ‘decisive moment’, but I don’t think it exists in the situation that is being photographed. It’s you, as the photographer, who decides when it is the decisive moment. And that moment depends on each individual’s point of view. Everything depends on the photographer, because after all it is their reality that they choose to interpret and show to other people. (Gardin was a great admirer of H C-B)

I see myself more as an artisan. I don’t feel like an artist. I’m a photographer; I document my time and the things I see around me.

My personal opinion is that photography should be exclusively about communication rather than art.

Humans are at the centre of everything. I realised that when I was photographing factory workers on the production line in the 1960s. I did it to tell their story, but underneath it all was a basic need to defend their dignity. That’s what really interests me. When Carla Cerati and I took some photos inside psychiatric hospitals, I learned how mental illness can humiliate people and rob them of their dignity.

I find digital to be too perfect if that’s possible. It’s not something I’m looking for in my photographs. I believe that film is still more flexible and, crucially, it generates a negative – something tangible that can be archived and will stand the test of time.

In today’s world, I may seem like I’m anti-digital, but it’s not something I’m against per se; it’s more some of the bad habits that digital photography has created, like excessive and disproportionate reliance on post-production. So many people take photos casually or half-heartedly because they know than always touch them up on Photoshop. I believe a photo should be created immediately, right from the moment you look through the lens.

I love telling a story – it’s something Koudelka taught me. He and Salgado are great friends of mine, and while he taught me that a photo should always have a story to tell, Salgado taught me that content should go hand in hand with form.

If you cut me open, I would bleed black and white.


Ashley Gilbertson

Be in the moment.

Photography isn't so much a job as much as a life.

Photography can turn every day into an adventure.


Bruce Gilden

You have to find out who you are, and then go forward with that.

If you photograph yourself you're on the right track.

If you just starting out, young or old, and you love it, then do it.  Don't let anyone derail you from doing it.


Ernst Haas

The limitations of your photography are in yourself.

You don't take pictures; the good ones happen to you.

A picture is the expression of an impression.

Bored with obvious reality, I find my fascination in transforming it into a subjective point of view. Without touching my subject I want to come to the moment when, through pure concentration of seeing, the composed picture becomes more made than taken. Without a descriptive caption to justify its existence, it will speak for itself–less descriptive, more creative; less informative, more suggestive; less prose, more poetry. (Magnum website).


Ted Hammond

For environmental portraits, choose your background first, and avoid vertical lines coming out of the subject's head.


David Alan Harvey

Don't shoot what it looks like.  Shoot what it feels like.

Squeeze the lemon, squeeze the lemon, until there's no more juice.  And then, there's always another drop.

One camera, one lens, one film.  You really have to put yourself in a position of danger to be creative.


Fan Ho

There must be humanity in art.  If you feel nothing when you click the shutter you give the viewer nothing to respond to, and you have nothing to convey.

I used the lens to write, instead of a pen.  It changed my whole life.

I will not click the shutter if it does not touch my heart.

Don't throw away your old negatives.  You may find some treasure from your past.  When you are older your philosophy of life may change.  You may change your viewpoint.  You may change your understanding of the world.

Photography is my passion; I enjoy playing with it.

Sometimes I push reality a certain distance and leave the viewers some space for imagination.


Yousuf Karsh

The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.

The trouble with photographing beautiful women is that you never get into the dark room until after they’re gone.


Michael Kenna

Nothing is ever the same twice because everything is always gone forever, and yet each moment has infinite photographic possibilities.  

Sometimes the most interesting visual phenomena occur when you least expect them.


Andre Kertesz

Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph.

In my own work I am an amateur, and I intend to remain one.

Events and mood are more important than good light and the happening is what is important.

Peter, go to medical school.


Eric Kim

Every photograph we make is a self portrait.


Josef Koudelka

Sometimes when you want to say something about people, you do it better when people aren't there.

I am not a photographer.  I am a collector of my photographs.

You have to find the place where the photograph is waiting for you, and then go there as long as it takes to get it.

I am happy if people like to look at my photographs and if they get something out of them.  But I can't really influence what they get.  We all see things differently.

You can't make good photographs all your life.  You have a period when things go well, and a period when they don't.

I have never been interested in documenting reality.  I select from it only what interests me.

What matters most to me is to take photographs; to continue taking them and not to repeat myself. To go further, to go as far as I can.

I don’t pretend to be an intellectual or a philosopher. I just look.

I would like to see everything, look at everything, I want to be the view itself.

The most important thing is to enjoy taking photographs.

I no longer need to carry with me 35 kilograms, only about 10 kilograms, and I don’t need to go through the X-ray machines which I really dislike. So the digital camera makes it easier, and also more interesting. I am 77 and I can say, Vive la Revolution! [Regarding digital cameras]

The transitional style in Czechoslovakia between reportage and essay was created in the course of the 1960s by Josef Kouldeka on the topic of the Gypsies.  That is where he was already turning away from the facticity of reportage and its non-aestheticism was manifest, in the use of the reportage method, in the move towards art and a non-documentary quality.  In other words, from description to reflection, from primary information to subjective and artisitic intepretation of that information. [Anna Fárová, quoted in Returning]


Dorothea Lange

When you're working well it is, first of all, a process of getting lost.

Beauty appears when one feels deeply.

Art is an act of total attention.

There are moments when time stands still.  You hope it will wait for you.  That fraction of a second captured on that tiny piece of sensitive film.


Constantine Manos

It is easy to take good pictures, difficult to take very good pictures, and almost impossible to take great pictures.

By choosing a precise intersection between subject and time, the photographer may transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and the real into the surreal.

Grain is the brush stroke of photography.

To make good photography you have to think about what you want to do, what subject matter you want to treat, how you want to approach it, what you want your pictures to look like.

A good photograph is an idea.


Mary Ellen Mark

Digital or analogue doesn't matter; it's the pictures you make that matter.

There are so many famous photographers and great images that have come before...  The subject matter comes with it's own visual legacy...  The point is, you can't let the legacy paralyze you.  You must be your own person and contribute to the legacy.  Don't worry about style and separating yourself from others shooting the same subject matter too much; the pictures will happen by shooting from your own personal point of view.  Worry more about getting a great picture.


Don McCullin from his autobiography

Photography is not looking, it's feeling.  If you can't feel what you're looking at, then you're never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.

What I hoped I had captured in my pictures was an enduring image that would imprint itself on the world's memory.

If you look in newspapers today all you see is narcissim, really.

To be free and alone on the edge of an unfolding landscape is a therapeutic, possibly even a spiritual, experience.


Daido Moriyama

Clarity is not what photography is about.


James Nachtwey

from Inferno

A photograph can enter the mind and reach the heart with the power of immediacy.  It affects that part of the psyche where meaning is less dependent upon words and makes an impact more visceral, more elemental, closer to raw experience.

What allows me to over come the emotional obstacles inherent in my work is the belief that when people are confronted with images that evoke compassion, they will continue to respond, no matter how exhausted, angry or frustrated they may be.

from the documentary War Photographer

Why photograph war?  Is is possible to put an end to a form of human behavior which has existed throughout history by means of photography?  Portions of that notion seem ridiculously out of balance, yet that very idea has motivated me.  For me, the strength of photography lies in its ability to evoke a sense of humanity.  If war is an attempt to negate humanity then photography can be perceived as the opposite of war.  And if it's used well it can be a powerful ingredient in the antidote to war.

Everyone cannot be there and that is why photographers go there, to show them, to reach out and show grab them and make them stop what they're doing and pay attention to what is going on; to create pictures powerful enough to overcome the diluting effects of the mass media and shake people out of their indifference; to protest and by the strength of that protest to make others protest.


Paul Nicklin

Amateurs tend to follow the camera.

I like to be vulnerable in the presence of an amazing animal, being able to create art and change peoples perceptions all at the same time.


Louis Pasteur

Chance favors the prepared mind.


Eliot Porter

Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.


Mark Riboud

You make much better photographs when you think.


Eugene Richards

Every photographer has a line where it changes over from empathy or sympathy to disgust for its own sake, and it's really hard to know when that is.  And you tell yourself that whatever you're showing, as bad as it looks, it isn't nearly as bad as it really was.  Do you need to show it all?  No.  That's just common sense.  But you're not telling the complete story.


Fred Ritchin

The revelation of the image is located in the telling, not just in the evidence of what has been told.

The term "digital photography" doesn't have very much to do with photography.

We've handed digital image making all the aura of analog photography and it's a camouflage.  We know digital image making is not photography as it has been in the past; it has been made for other, new uses.

The photographic community has done very little to preserve the credibility of the image. My sense is that the photograph is a quotation from appearances. It's supposed to be a recording, if you're using it journalistically. If you're not doing that, the reader needs to know. Just like if you're quoting someone and you put it in quotation marks, that's what they said. If you want to paraphrase, you don't use quotation marks so the reader knows the difference. With a photograph, the reader assumes it's a quotation and if it's not, you have to tell them. If you don't do it, it's illegitimate in terms of journalism. You can manipulate all you want, but just let people know you're doing it.

Following is from After Photography

Given the major dilemmas facing humanity and the planet, the harnessing of media to help us comprehend our transitional universe and to intervene in its evolution is less a luxury than an urgent requirement of citizenship.  We shoudl be looking to create more useful, exploratory images, not just the flamboyant, shocking ones.

In the analog world the photograph of the photograph is always one generation removed, fuzzier, not the same; the digital copy of the digital photograph is indistinguishable so that "original" loses its meaning.

Digital media...stimulates other logics and ultimately new philosophies of life, moving from the authority of the Newtonian to the probabliity of the quantum, and from the visualization of the phenotype to a preference for the coded genotype.

If a photograph is said to be worth a thousand words, very few of those words generally come to mind after a caption tells the reader what the photo is supposed to be about.


Galen Rowell

My first thought is always of light.


Josef Sudek from Poet of Prague

A photographer should never impose restrictions upon himself.


Selbastiao Selgado

I adore photography, taking photographs, holding my camera, choosing my frame, playing with the light.


W. Eugene Smith from his Autobiographical Statement

I don't think there is anything that has replaced Life.  

I generally try to become so accepted into a community that they more or less forget about me as a photographer and as a journalist.

I truly at all times try to have consideration for the people I'm photographing.

I've never been satisfied with the work I've done.  My work is a failure as far as the height I'd like to reach with it.

I much prefer to have my photographs add this other element, so that possibly they will stir someone to action, do something about something.

I have no conflict between journalism and my artist self.  At one time I did, but then I realized that to be a good journalist I needed to be the finest artist that I could possibly be.

I just very quietly accept photography as an art.

Other sources

Sometimes - just sometimes - photographs can lure our senses into greater awareness.  Much depends on the viewer; but to some, photographs can demand enough of emotions to be a catalyst to thinking.


John Steinbeck

The camera need not be a cold mechanical device.  Like the pen, it is as good as the man who uses it.  It can be the extension of mind and heart.

I hate cameras.  They are so much more sure than I am about everything.


Art Streiber

Now, in an age in which we are inundated with imagery, the image bears the burden of grabbing the reader and pulling them into the story.


Henry Thoreau

It's not what you look at that matters, but what you see.


Peter Turnley 

I continue to hope and believe that the best stories and photographs are yet to occur.

Photography is about sharing a moment we have framed.

If you're going to make a photograph, make a photograph.  Make a beautiful photograph.  Do it.

The notion of a story is a complex topic.  Good stories leave you wanting to know more.

Clarity and authenticity are important parts of story telling.

A little imperfection makes a photograph credible.

Let your subject have dignity.

A photograph should be sharp.  Choose your aperture and ISO to have a shutter speed of at least 1/125 sec.

[above from a workshop in Seattle 2017]

I've never been particularly preoccupied with the boxes and compartments into which photographers can be too often conveniently boxed into such as photojournalist, fine art photographer, art photographer, street photographer, war photographer, etc. While I am proud to feel that I have made a contribution to each of those boxes throughout my career in one way or another, what I care most about simply is in being as engaged as possible in being a visual story teller, a photographer, perhaps a visual poet. In the determination of whether or not an image is to be seen in color or in black and white, in this digital age, I embrace the right as a storyteller to decide each day, how I'd Iike to share a story. What seems most important to me, in almost all, is that each day, as we arrive at that fork in the road, that I decide to take the road least traveled, and until now, at every juncture, that continues to make all of the difference. [Facebook post]


Jerry Uelsmann

There are no uninteresting things.  Only uninterested people.

Did you hear about the professor who dreamed that he was giving a lecture and woke up to find that he was?

Ultimately, my hope is to amaze myself.


Pauline Vermare (Magnum website)

Street photography is the art of gleaning what is at hand – subjects, lights, shapes – to create beautifully composed and arresting images. It is an artistic form of hunting and gathering, a scavenger hunt led by a conscious or subconscious urge to collect patterns and scenes that offer themselves freely to the mind and eyes of the photographer. For some, like Cartier-Bresson or Sergio Larraín, street photography provides the highest form of awareness, and a complete presence in the world.


David von Drehle

On social media, the photograph has become a kind of existential statement: I am here!  Can you see me?  Power has shiftred from the photographer to the viewer, who has an almost infinite number of images to choose from.  [I would add that power has shifted from the editor to the photographer to the viewer. -TF]


Edward Weston

The camera sees more than the eye.