Notable & Quotable


                  Master Photographers' Quotes
              providing inspiration in work and life


"At first glance a photograph can inform us. At second glance it can reach us."
- Minor White

"It isn't what a picture is of, it is what it is about."
- John Szarkowski

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

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

"With all the arguments and discussions about the Vietnam War, what did the visual image do? It ended the war."
- Cornell Capa

"The basic material of photographs is not intrinsically beautiful. It's not like ivory or tapestry or bronze or oil on canvas. You're not supposed to look at the thing, you're supposed to look through it. It's a window."
- John Szarkowski


"It takes the passage of time before an image of a commonplace subject can be assessed.  The difficulty of what I attempt is seeing beyond the moment; the everydayness of life gets in the way of the eternal.  I contemplate how this photograph will be seen in the future when the subject matter no longer endures.  Taking a picture is, indeed, stopping the world."
- George Tice

"The key is to not let the camera, which depicts nature in so much detail, reveal just what the eye picks up, but what the heart picks up as well."
- Paul Caponigro

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

"At the root of creativity is an impulse to understand, to make sense of random and often unrelated details. For me, photography provides an intersection of time, space, light, and emotional stance. One needs to be still enough, observant enough, and aware enough to recognize the life of the materials, to be able to 'hear through the eyes."
- Paul Caponigro

"One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are."
- Minor White

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

"It's one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it's another to make a portrait of who they are."
- Paul Caponigro


"A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they'll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won't do a thing for you if you don't have anything in your head or in your heart."
- Arnold Newman

"The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it."
- Edward Weston


The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
- Dorothea Lange

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment."
- Ansel Adams

"Which of my photographs is my favorite ?  The one I'm going to take tomorrow." 
- Imogen Cunningham

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you SEE."
- H. D. Thoreau

"The absolute worst thing a person can say about your pictures…
‘"That’s nice."
... It’s the kiss of death."
- Joe DiMaggio (the photographer)