155 Great Photography Quotes


photo by SweetonVeg

Here is our fantastic collection of the remarkable photography quotes. We will continue to update these over time.

  1. You don’t take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it.
  2. Author Unknown

  3. A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
  4. Ansel Adams

  5. The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.
  6. Ansel Adams

  7. If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.
  8. Robert Capa

  9. A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.
  10. Diane Arbus

  11. There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
  12. Ansel Adams

  13. Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. . . it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
  14. Aaron Sussman

  15. There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
  16. Ansel Adams

  17. Results are uncertain even among the more experienced photographers.
  18. Matthew Brady

  19. The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score and the print the performance.
  20. Ansel Adams

  21. I began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed.
  22. Galen Rowell

  23. Buying a Nikon doesn’t make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner.
  24. Author Unknown

  25. A photograph is like a recipea memory the finished dish.
  26. Carrie Latet

  27. You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
  28. Ansel Adams

  29. In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
  30. Alfred Stieglitz

  31. The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.
  32. William Thackeray

  33. The more you photograph, the more you realize what can and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.
  34. Eliot Porter

  35. When you photograph a face . . .you photograph the soul behind it.
  36. Jean-Luc Godard

  37. The camera is much more than a recording apparatus, it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world.
  38. Orson Welles

  39. If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.
  40. Lewis Hine

  41. A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.
  42. Ansel Adams

  43. Kodak sells film, but they don’t advertise film; they advertise memories.
  44. Theodore Levitt

  45. The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?
  46. Edward Weston

  47. This isn’t a real quote, it’s just here to see if how often people re-purpose this list.
  48. Franklyn McFakery34567

  49. Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.
  50. Anonymous

  51. Photography has no rules, it is not a sport. It is the result which counts, no matter how it is achieved.
  52. Bill Brandt

  53. Character, like photograph, develops in darkness.
  54. Yousuf Karsh

  55. Photography is the art of frozen time… the ability to store emotion and feelings within a frame.
  56. Meshack Otieno

  57. Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real.
  58. Ansel Adams

  59. Photography is the recording of strangeness and beauty with beguiling precision.
  60. Sebastian Smee

  61. Photography is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
  62. Alfred Stieglitz

  63. Photography is the dominant and fascinating and only folk art of the twentieth century.
  64. Sir John Rothenstein

  65. Photography is (a means by which we)…learn to see the ordinary.
  66. David Bailey

  67. Photography is a contest between a photographer and the presumptions of approximate and habitual seeing. The contest can be held anywhere …
  68. John Szarkowski

  69. Photography is my meditation.
  70. Czar Anthony Lopez

  71. 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.
  72. Eliot Porter

  73. Actually, I’m not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.
  74. Henri Cartier-Bresson

  75. In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv.
  76. Henri Cartier-Bresson

  77. There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.
  78. Ernst Haas

  79. I threw myself into this artform because photography had given me a new sense of mission and identity.
  80. Bob Anderson

  81. Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.
  82. Duane Michals

  83. Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world.
  84. Arnold Newman

  85. Visual ideas combined with technology combined with personal interpretation equals photography. Each must hold it’s own; if it doesn’t, the thing collapses.
  86. Arnold Newman

  87. In the world of photography, you get to share a captured moment with other people.
  88. James Wilson

  89. Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true.
  90. Jacques-Henri Lartigue

  91. Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.
  92. Paul Strand

  93. Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
  94. Aaron Siskind

  95. Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.
  96. Garry Winogrand

  97. Photography does not create eternity, as art does; it embalms time, rescuing it simply from its proper corruption.
  98. Andre Bazin

  99. Photography must be integrated with the story.
  100. James Wong Howe

  101. The beauty of women was the first expression of my photography.
  102. Alberto Korda

  103. Few speeches which have produced an electrical effect on an audience can bear the colourless photography of a printed record.
  104. Archibald Primrose

  105. In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.
  106. August Sander

  107. Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.
  108. Henri Cartier-Bresson

  109. There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
  110. Ansel Adams

  111. My own eyes are no more than scouts on a preliminary search, or the camera’s eye may entirely change my idea.
  112. Edward Weston

  113. Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence.
  114. Minor White

  115. Which of the photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
  116. Imogen Cunningham

  117. I do not object to retouching, dodging or accentuation as long as they do not interfere with the natural qualities of photographic technique.
  118. Alfred Stieglitz

  119. Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.
  120. Garry Winogrand

  121. Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
  122. Henri Cartier-Bresson

  123. There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.
  124. Robert Heinecken

  125. If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.
  126. Lewis Hine

  127. Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
  128. Yousuf Karsh

  129. Photography is truth.
  130. Jean-Luc Godard

  131. There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.
  132. Ernst Haas

  133. When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.
  134. Alfred Eisenstaedt

  135. It is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph.
  136. Robert Frank

  137. The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer
    Gordon Parks

  138. Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.
  139. Walker Evans

  140. At 42, I decided to become a photographer because it offered a means of creative thought and action. I didn’t rationalize this, I just felt it intuitively and followed my intuition, which I have never regretted.
  141. Wynne Bullock

  142. I’ve never made any picture, good or bad, without paying for it in emotional turmoil.
  143. W. Eugene Smith

  144. Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.
  145. Berenice Abbott

  146. It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.
  147. Paul Strand

  148. Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.
  149. Sally Mann

  150. Art is the highest task and the proper metaphysical activity of this life.
  151. Friedrich Nietzsche

  152. Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.
  153. Edward Steichen

  154. Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.
  155. Dorothea Lange

  156. Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.
  157. Ansel Adams

  158. To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.
  159. Henri Cartier-Bresson

  160. Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.
  161. Ansel Adams

  162. Computer photography won’t be photography as we know it. I think photography will always be chemical.
  163. Annie Leibovitz

  164. 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.
  165. Harry Callahan

  166. I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favourite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.
  167. Diane Arbus

  168. 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.
  169. Sam Abell

  170. Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.
  171. Jean-Luc Godard

  172. It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to the spectators.
  173. Ansel Adams

  174. Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.
  175. Ansel Adams

  176. People don’t have time to wait for somebody to paint their portraits anymore. The money is in photography.
  177. Robert Mapplethorpe

  178. 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.
  179. John Sexton

  180. With photography, you zero in; you put a lot of energy into short moments, and then you go on to the next thing.
  181. Robert Mapplethorpe

  182. But slowly I began to use cameras and then think about what it was that was going on. It took me a long time, I mean I actually played with cameras and photography for about 20 years.
  183. David Hockney

  184. In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
  185. Alfred Stieglitz

  186. I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today’s existence.
  187. Robert Mapplethorpe

  188. What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.
  189. John Berger

  190. I treat the photograph as a work of great complexity in which you can find drama. Add to that a careful composition of landscapes, live photography, the right music and interviews with people, and it becomes a style.
  191. Ken Burns

  192. Photography helps people to see.
  193. Berenice Abbott

  194. A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy.
  195. Galen Rowell

  196. Photography is a way of putting distance between myself and the work which sometimes helps me to see more clearly what it is that I have made.
  197. Andy Goldsworthy

  198. Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.
  199. Henri Cartier-Bresson

  200. I don’t need the money I generate from photography to support myself.
  201. Kim Weston

  202. And friends of mine that had photography class in high school would develop the film and make prints and I’d take them back to the track and give ‘em away or try and sell them. Much to my parents’ dismay, I majored in photography in college.
  203. John Sexton

  204. He was a very generous soul and was exceptionally dedicated to the medium of photography.
  205. John Sexton

  206. I make photographs and still make photographs of the natural environment. It’s a love because that was part of my life before I was involved in photography.
  207. John Sexton

  208. I took a workshop from him a few months after that. That experience changed my whole approach to photography. At that workshop in Yosemite in 1973 I decided I wanted to try and see if I could pursue this for myself, and I’m still trying.
  209. John Sexton

  210. In 1979, I received a phone call from Ansel Adams asking me if I would be willing to consider coming to work for him. I was teaching photography in Southern California at that point.
  211. John Sexton

  212. So when I became interested in photography and further being inspired by the work that I saw of Ansel and others, it was a natural extension to go back to these places that I knew as a kid and explore them with my camera.
  213. John Sexton

  214. Mapplethorpe presented the body as a sexual object, separating it from the humanity of the person. He added nothing to photography as a medium. I hold his work in low regard.
  215. Jerzy Kosinski

  216. My main camera is a Nikon D3. I use a French camera from the 1800s for wet plate photography, I use a Hasselblad sometimes. But to me the camera really doesn’t matter that much. I don’t have a preference for film or digital.
  217. Nikki Sixx

  218. I don’t think there’s any such thing as teaching people photography, other than influencing them a little. People have to be their own learners. They have to have a certain talent.
  219. Imogen Cunningham

  220. I have no fear of photography as long as it cannot be used in heaven and in hell.
  221. Edvard Munch

  222. The clue to book jacket photography is to look friendly and approachable, but not too glamorous.
  223. Antonia Fraser

  224. Photography suits the temper of this age – of active bodies and minds. It is a perfect medium for one whose mind is teeming with ideas, imagery, for a prolific worker who would be slowed down by painting or sculpting, for one who sees quickly and acts decisively, accurately.
  225. Edward Weston

  226. 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.
  227. Berenice Abbott

  228. I think landscape photography in general is somewhat undervalued.
  229. Galen Rowell

  230. There is no question that photography has played a major role in the environmental movement.
  231. Galen Rowell

  232. Ever since the 1860s when photographers travelled the American West and brought photographs of scenic wonders back to the people on the East Coast of America we have had a North American tradition of landscape photography used for the environment.
  233. Galen Rowell

  234. Of course I realize that photography is not the technical facility as much as it is the eye, and this decision that one makes for the moment at which you are going to snap, you know.
  235. Ben Shahn

  236. Now, when I came on to Washington to begin my job, I was so interested in photography at that time that I really would have preferred to work with Stryker than with my department, which was more artistic if you wish.
  237. Ben Shahn

  238. Now, my knowledge of photography was terribly limited.
  239. Ben Shahn

  240. I loved photography and everybody said it was a crazy thing to do because in those days nobody made it into the film business. I mean, unless you were related to somebody there was no way in.
  241. George Lucas

  242. Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment – this very moment – to stay.
  243. Sam Abell

  244. The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each to himself. And that is the most complicated thing on earth.
  245. Edward Steichen

  246. 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 that. The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself.
  247. Edward Steichen

  248. Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.
  249. George Eastman

  250. Generally, the French highly promote culture and the arts, and photography is in their blood.
  251. Herb Ritts

  252. Traditionally, photography is supposed to capture an event that has passed; but that is not what I’m looking for. Photography brings the past into the present when you look at it.
  253. Julian Schnabel

  254. While I was there I became deeply interested in photography, and indeed the most noteworthy event in my early life was winning first, third, fourth and seventh prizes in an international competition for college and high school students.
  255. Douglass North

  256. Photography started as a means of getting reference material for my paintings of nature subjects.
  257. Nigel Dennis

  258. Big game photography in Africa is mainly done from a vehicle, so then I feel I might as well take the lot.
  259. Nigel Dennis

  260. It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.
  261. David Bailey

  262. Photography to the amateur is recreation, to the professional it is work, and hard work too, no matter how pleasurable it my be.
  263. Edward Weston

  264. Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.
  265. Berenice Abbott

  266. 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.
  267. Alfred Eisenstaedt

  268. When you live by the sea, there are definite seasons when you can see the weather coming and going, which lends itself to photography.
  269. Graeme Le Saux

  270. The problem for me is that I’ve never actually studied photography, so it’s quite a steep learning curve. Cameras these days do so much for you automatically but I still think there’s a point where you should actually know the technical side.
  271. Graeme Le Saux

  272. What it all boils down to for me is having the enthusiasm to do something for enjoyment and being stimulated by what’s around you. That’s what photography does for me.
  273. Graeme Le Saux

  274. Look at lots of exhibitions and books, and don’t get hung up on cameras and technical things. Photography is about images.
  275. Fay Godwin

  276. Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
  277. W. Eugene Smith

  278. Moreover, photography has made it possible to fix these images and now provides us with a permanent record of each observed spectrum, which can be measured out at any time.
  279. Pieter Zeeman

  280. People think because it’s photography it’s not worth as much, and because it’s a woman artist, you’re still not getting as much – there’s still definitely that happening. I’m still really competitive when it comes to, I guess, the male painters and male artists. I still think that’s really unfair.
  281. Cindy Sherman

  282. Photography is a major force in explaining man to man.
  283. Edward Steichen

  284. 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.
  285. Edward Steichen

  286. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 15. After my kids were born I found myself incorporating my photography into different art endeavours and from there it just blossomed.
  287. Angela Cartwright

  288. After my kids were born I found myself incorporating my photography into different art endeavours and from there it just blossomed. I have always had to have an outlet for my creativity and when my life became more about raising my family than the bright lights of show business exploring my photo art was a great outlet for me.
  289. Angela Cartwright

  290. 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.
  291. Elliott Erwitt

  292. Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure.
  293. Tony Benn

  294. I am very much aware of the visual side of things. I do a lot of photography. I often take Polaroids of things that strike me as visually interesting, just to remember them and perhaps use later.
  295. Helena Christensen

  296. Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.
  297. Berenice Abbott

  298. Photography is still a very new medium and everything must be tried and dare.
  299. Bill Brandt

  300. In my photography, color and composition are inseparable. I see in color.
  301. William Albert Allard

  302. The arts equally have distinct departments, and unless photography has its own possibilities of expression, separate from those of the other arts, it is merely a process, not an art.
  303. Alfred Stieglitz

  304. With photography a new language has been created. Now for the first time it is possible to express reality by reality. We can look at an impression as long as we wish, we can delve into it and, so to speak, renew past experiences at will.
  305. Ernst Haas

  306. Photography is, in essence, the art of capturing light using a device that doesn’t very well support it.
  307. Unknown.

  308. It doesn’t matter if you’re photographing a porter in a market in Marrakech or you’re photographing the king of Morroco. You have the same sympathetic approach to everybody. You be nice to everybody, basically.
  309. Albert Watson

If you have another inspiring photography quote send it in!