Inspirational photography quotes from great masters

Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson or Elliott Erwitt:

Have a look at what the great masters said about photography


Quotes from famous photographer A to F

Quotes from famous photographer G to L

Quotes from famous photographer M to S

Quotes from famous photographer T to Z


Ansel Adams

“I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop.”


“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer and often the supreme disappointment.”


“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”


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


“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.”


“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”


“Not everybody trusts paintings, but people believe photographs.”


Robert Adams

“There is still time – in the lee, in the quiet, in the extraordinary light.”

“I’ve been so lonely trying to become a photographer. If I’d known that before, I don’t know if I had the courage to do it again. You get to a point where you feel that you have something that is your own. And if you don’t find an audience for it, you are going to burst.”


Nobuyoshi Araki

“There is a camera is between a man and a woman.”


“My photos are my diary. Every photo is no more than the representation of a single day. And each day contains the past and the projection into the future. That’s why I feel compelled to indicate the date on every picture I take.”


Diane Arbus

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”


“I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.”


“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”


“The more specific you are, the more general it will be.”


“Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It had a terrific form of excitement to me. I just used to adore them. They made me feel a mixture of shame and awe.”


Paul Auster

“The pictures do not lie, but neither do they tell the whole story. They are merely a record of time passing, the outward evidence.”


Richard Avedon

“There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”

“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”


Francis Bacon

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”


John Berger

“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are time and light.”


“The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. Yet no other god has been so cynical, for the camera records in order to forget.”



“Only powerfully conceived images have the ability to penetrate the memory, to stay there, in short to become unforgettable.”


William S. Burroughs

“There is in fact something obscene and sinister about photography, a desire to imprison, to incorporate, a sexual intensity of pursuit.”


Robert Capa

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


“The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.”


“What’s the point of getting killed if you’ve got the wrong exposure?”


Henri Cartier-Bresson

“We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.”


“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”


“Photographier: c’est mettre sur la meme ligne de mire la tete, l’oeil et le coeur.”


“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”


“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”


“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”


Imogen Cunningham

“There are too many people studying it [photography] now who are never going to make it. You can’t give them a formula for making it. You have to have it in you first, you don’t learn it. The seeing eye is the important thing.”


Gregory Crewdson

“My father was a psycho-analyst and I think that fact was very influential on my development as an artist. Trying to search beneath the surface of things for an unexpected sense of mystery.”


“It’s about finding meaning through light. I’m always interested in tensions. A primary one is the collision between the familiar and the strange.”


Bruce Davidson

“Most of my pictures are compassionate, gentle and personal. They tend to let the viewer see for himself. They tend not to preach. And they tend not to pose as art.”


Robert Doisneau

“When people talk to me about picture hunters, I very quietly laugh. I’m not a hunter of pictures, I’m a fisher of pictures.”


“To suggest is to create; to describe is to destroy.”


William Eggleston

“Often people ask what I’m photographing, which is a hard question to answer. And the best what I’ve come up with is I just say: Life today.”


“I am at war with the obvious.”


Alfred Eisenstaedt

“The most important thing is not the camera but the eye.”


Elliott Erwitt

“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.”


Walker Evans

“Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.”


Arno Fischer

“When I take a photograph of a man at a bus stop waiting for the bus, more than just a man waiting for a bus must be seen on the photo.”


Robert Frank

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough, there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph.”


Leonard Freed

“Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.”


Lee Friedlander

“I only wanted Uncle Vernon standing by his own car (a Hudson) on a clear day, I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on the fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It’s a generous medium, photography.”


Jason Fulford

“When a person looks at a photograph you’ve taken, they will always think of themselves, their own life experience. They will relate your photograph to their memories. That interplay is where a picture comes alive and grows into something. They function like invitations.”

Inspiring photographers from around the globe share their secrets and insights. Join the newsletter and you’ll get actionable advice to help you develop an unique photographic language and eventually take your craft as an image maker to the next level.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else. More information