Photography quotes

Photography quotes

The photography quotes I find most interesting.

Robert Capa the famous war photographer


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

The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.

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

It’s not always easy to stand aside and be unable to do anything except record the sufferings around one.

The pictures are there, and you just take them.

The war is like an actress who is getting old. It is less and less photogenic and more and more dangerous.

Capa was born in Budapest in 1913. He was called Endre Friedmann, which name he didn’t liked, partly this why he changed his name to the more american sounding Robert Capa. He was born to a middle class family. Later the financial crisis destroyed his parent’s business, when he studied in Berlin. He had financial difficulties until he could worked for Dephot photo agency company. He started at low position, after he managed to climb up the ladder, and got better assignments.

Later he goes to Paris, because of growing antisemitism. In the beginning he had hard time in Paris as well, until he got a job at an agency. He lived with Gerda Taro there, they invented the name of Robert Capa to sell photograps at higher prices. Gerda was died in the Spanish Civil War, when she hopped on the car carrying wounded people, the Tank crashed her. Capa was photographed in five different wars (Spanish Civil War, Japan China war, II World War, Ist Arab-Israel War, and Indochina). He died at the age of 40 in the Indochina war, stepped on the pressure mine.

One of his most famous photograph is the “Falling soldier.” The photo was taken in 1936 in Spanish Civil War, showing a soldier at the moment of his death. Many people thought this picture was not made at the scene, but made it in other place. Brian Wallis, one of curators of Capa heritage bought a 1947 radio record of Capa in 2013 (Capa’s 100 year anniversary) an Ebay for 2000 USD, where Capa shared how he made the photo. The photo was made from the trench, where Capa was with 20 soldiers, when they started an attack, Capa with lifted hand made the photo without seeing the scene. Only 3 month later came out, how the photo was captured. The photo was very famous before Capa has seen it.
You can hear Capa telling this on below link of New York Times.
Robert Capa tells about the Falling soldier

Ansel Adams


Ansel Adams quotes

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.

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

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

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

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

A good photograph is knowing where to stand.

A photograph is usually looked at, seldom looked into.

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.

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

Ansel Adams was born in 1902 in an upper class family as an only child in Western suburb of San Francisco. He was also a very good piano player, started to interested in playing in the age of 12. In his youth years his nose was broken, when an Earthquake push him to the fence. He is most known about his black and white photographs of the Yosemite Walley, which he first visited at the age of 16. First he had a Kodak Brownie, which he later replaces with a middle format camera, and he processed his images with special technique. Ansel Married Virginia Best in Best family’s studio at Yosemite valley. He joined the nature protecting Sierra Club in young age, and stayed the member of the group in all his life. He was a director of the group as well. He also made color photographs as well, but preferred black and white. He developed the idea of pre-visualization of the photo and zone system as well, to calculate the proper exposure of the photo.

Ansel’s most popular photograps:

-the Tetons and the Snake river
-Church Taos pueblo,
-Monolith, the face of half dome
-Rose and driftwood,
-El Capitan, Merced river, Clouds
-Bridalveil fall,
-Mount Williamson
-Jeffrey pine

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer considered the master of candid photography. The title of his main book is The decisive moment. He was a painter as well. He founded Magnum photos in 1947 with Robert Capa, David Seymour, George Rotger, William and Rita Vandivert, and Maria Eisner. This was one of the first photo agency.

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photography quotes

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.

Of course it’s all luck.


Brassai was also a photographer with Hungarian origin. His original name was Gyula Halász. The name Brassai comes from he was born in Brasow. He is famous about his pictures about Paris where he lived most of his life, after he left Hungary.

André Kertész

He was also Hungarian. He mostly lived in Paris after the US.

André Kertész quotes

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

My talent lies in the fact that I cannot touch a camera without expressing myself.

A photograph draws its beauty from the truth with which it is marked. For this very reason I refuse all the tricks of the trade and professional virtuosity which could make me betray my canon. As soon as I find a subject which interests me, I leave it to the lens to record truthfully.

Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison d’être. The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d’être, which lives on in itself.

I am an amateur and intend to remain one my whole life long. I attribute to photography the task of recording the real nature of things, their interior, their life. The photographer’s art is a continuous discovery which requires patience and time. A photograph draws its beauty from the truth with which it’s marked. For this very reason I refuse all the tricks of the trade and professional virtuosity which could make me betray my career. As soon as I find a subject which interests me, I leave it to the lens to record it truthfully. Look at the reporters and at the amateur photographer ! They both have only one goal; to record a memory or a document. And that is pure photography.

Brassai’s quotes

There are many photographs which are full of life but which are confusing and difficult to remember. It is the force of an image which matter.

Do you know what Picasso said when he looked at my drawings in 1939? “You’re crazy, Brassai. You have a gold mine and you spend your time exploiting a salt mine!” The salt mine was – naturally – photography!

In the absence of a subject with which you are passionately involved, and without the excitement that drives you to grasp it and exhaust it, you may take some beautiful pictures, but not a photographic oeuvre.

To me photography must suggest, not insist or explain.

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw was a Nobel-prize winner writer.

A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was an american portrait and fashion photographer.

My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph.

All photographs are accurate. None of them are the truth.

I hate cameras. They interfere, they’re always in the way. I wish: if I could just work with my eyes alone. To get a satisfactory print, one that contains all that you intended, is very often more difficult and dangerous than the sitting itself. When I’m photographing, I immediately know when I’ve got the image I really want. But to get the image out of the camera and into the open, is another matter.

Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh was an Armenian – Canadian portrait photographer. He was one of the most important portrait photographer in the 20th century. He made pictures of Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy and many others included most Hollywood stars. He was a master of studio lights.

Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.

Character, like photograph, develops in darkness.

August Sander

August Sander was a German portrait and documentary photographer.

August Sander’s quotes

In photography there are no shadows which cannot be illuminated.

Henry David Thoreau

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Elliott Erwitt

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me all times..I just shoot at what interest me at that moment.

The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.

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.

Paul Caponigro

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

Berenice Abbott

Photography helps people to see.

Peter Adams

Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.

William Albert Allard

You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.

Eliot Porter

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

John Berger

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

Tim Walker

Only photograph what you love.

Sally Mann

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

Robert Frank

The eye should learn to listen before it looks.

Pablo Picasso

Two of the most frustrated trades are dentists and photographers – dentist because they wanted to be doctors, photographers because they wanted to be painters.

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.


There’s a time when people say your work is revolutionary, but you have to keep being revolutionary. I can’t keep shooting pop stars all my life. You have to keep changing, keep pushing yourself, looking for the new, the unusual.

Philip Jones Griffiths

… we are there with our cameras to record reality. Once we start modifying that which exists, we are robbing photography of its most valuable attribute.

Man Ray

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information

Unknown authors

One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photos out of focus are a style.

When people ask me what kind of photography equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.

I always thought good photos were like good jokes, if you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.

 Posted by at 10:52 pm