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


Sally Mann

“One of the things my career as an artist might say to young artists is: The things that are close to you are the things you can photograph the best. And unless you photograph what you love, you are not going to make good art.”


“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.”


Don McCullin

“Photography for me 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.”


“I am sometimes accused by my peers of printing my pictures too dark. All I can say is that it goes with the mood of melancholy that is induced by witnessing at close quarters such intractable situations of conflict and joylessness.”


“The real truth of life is on the streets. Photograph the daily lives of people, and how they exist, and how they fight for space and time and pleasure.”


Steve McCurry

“The definition of a great picture is one that stays with you, one that you can’t forget. It doesn’t have to be technically good at all.”


“To become a photographer leave your house first.”


“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”


Susan Meiselas

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.”


Joel Meyerowitz

“Making any statement of your feelings is risky. It’s just like making pictures.”


Duane Michals

“I believe in invisible; I do not believe in visible.”


Lisette Model

“Don’t shoot til the subject hits you in the pit of your stomach.”


Sarah Moon

“Very often I say to myself: I would like to make a photo where nothing happens. But in order to eliminate, there has to be something to begin with. For nothing to happen, something has to happen first.”


James Nachtwey

“The pictures that were coming from Vietnam were showing us what was really happening on the ground level. It was in contradiction to what our political and military leaders were telling us. They were straight forward documentary images. A powerful indictment of the war, of how cruel and unjust it was. When I finally decided what to do with my life, it was to follow in that tradition.”


“Many people in this world do jobs that are dangerous and where their life is at risk and they feel that there is some kind of value to their job I guess that’s how I feel about what I do. There is a social function to documentary photography that is very important and it requires people to take risks.”


Arnold Newman

“We don’t take pictures with cameras, we take them with our hearts and minds.”


“A real artist to me is someone who can show us our old, familiar world in a new and different way, we’ve never seen before.”


“I am convinced that any photographic attempt to show the complete man is nonsense. We can only show, as best we can, what the outer man reveals. The inner man is seldom revealed to anyone, sometimes not even the man himself.”


Martin Parr

“The easy bit is picking up a camera and pointing and shooting. But then you have to decide what it is you’re trying to say and express.”


Raghu Rai

“A photograph has picked up a fact of life, and that fact will live forever.”


Marc Riboud

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”


“I’m often asked: Did you get what you wanted? But how should I know what I wanted? A photo is an encounter, a surprise.”


Terry Richardson

“I don’t work off lights and angles; I work off emotions. A mood that I create.”


August Sander

“Therefore, let me in honesty speak the truth about our epoch and people.”


Ferdinando Scianna

“Shadow isn’t just the dialectical moment as opposed to the light, it’s also a psychological moment as opposed to the brightness; there is brightness and there is sorrow too.”


Cindy Sherman

“I’ll see a photograph of a character and try to copy them on to my face. I think I’m really observant, and thinking how a person is put together, seeing them on the street and noticing subtle things about them that make them who they are.”


Stephen Shore

“A photograph has edges, the world does not.”


Aaron Siskind

“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.”


W. Eugene Smith

“What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling?”


Susan Sontag

“Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”


“To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.”


Alec Soth

“Whether you are Minor White or Robert Frank, almost every photograph starts with an act of pure description – a window. But every now and then you catch a glimpse of the photographer’s reflection. The mirror is just another function of the window.”


“I fell in love with the process of taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance.”


Joel Sternfeld

“No individual photo explains anything. That’s what makes photography such a wonderful and problematic medium. It is the photographer’s job to get this medium to say what you need it to say. Because photography has a certain verisimilitude, it has gained a currency as truthful – but photographs have always been convincing lies.”


Alfred Stieglitz

“What Stieglitz was driving at was a new vision for a modern world. To teach America to see. And photography was the epitome for a new way of seeing.”


Paul Strand

“No matter what lens you use, no matter what speed the film, no matter how you develop it, no matter how you print it, you cannot say more than you can see.”


“The portrait of a person is one of the most difficult things to do. It means you must almost bring the presence of that person photographed to other people in such a way that they don’t have to know that person personally, but that they are still confronted with a human being that they won’t forget. That’s a portrait.”


Hiroshi Sugimoto

“To me photography functions as a fossilization of time.”


Leonardo da Vinci

“Who would believe that so small a space could contain the images of the whole universe?”

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  1. I really love these Photography quotes from
    Joel Meyerowitz

    But also found an amazing quote by Don Chadwick on
    Best Photography Quotes
    “The camera has always been a guide, and it’s allowed me to see things and focus on things that maybe an average person wouldn’t even notice.”
    – Don Chadwick


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