100 Inspirational Photography Quotes from Top Photographers

by David Sornberger

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But what do some of the world?s top, past and present, photographers say? In order to find out, I?ve flipped some of go-to photography books and researched many of my favourite photographers to compile the best quotes on the subject of photography.

For me, reading even just one line that encapsulates my love of the art of photography reminds me of the importance of documenting even the smallest moments with our cameras.

If you?re looking for that little push to get back to photography, here are 100 quotes to get you inspired to shoot. Get out there already!

?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.? Henri Cartier-Bresson

?A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.? Irving Penn

?All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.? Richard Avedon

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

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

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?A photograph is like a recipe the memory is the finished dish.? Carrie Latet

?A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.? Edward Steichen

?A tear contains an ocean. A photographer is aware of the tiny moments in a person?s life that reveal greater truths.? Anonymous

?Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.? Yousuf Karsh

?A camera alone does not make a picture. To make a picture you need a camera, a photographer and above all a subject. It is the subject that determines the interest of the photograph.? Man Ray

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?A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.? Annie Leibovitz

?Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.? Matt Hardy

?Essentially what photography is life lit up.? Sam Abell

?Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.? Peter Adams

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?I don?t trust words. I trust pictures.? Gilles Peress

?If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn?t need to lug around a camera.? Lewis Hine

?If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it?s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.? Eve Arnold

?If your pictures aren?t good enough, you?re not close enough.? Robert Capa

?If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment.? Linda McCartney

?If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.? Jim Richardson

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?I like to photograph anyone before they know what their best angles are.? Ellen Von Unwerth

?I love the people I photograph. I mean, they?re my friends. I?ve never met most of them or I don?t know them at all, yet through my images, I live with them.? Bruce Gilden

?I never have taken a picture I?ve intended. They?re always better or worse.? Diane Arbus

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

?In photography, there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.? August Sander

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

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

?I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn?t photograph them.? Diane Arbus

?I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.? Wayne Miller

?It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.? Alfred Eisenstaedt

?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.? Paul Caponigro

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?It?s weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don?t even amount to a couple of hours.? James Lalropui Keivom

?I wish that all of nature?s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of place could be photographed.? Annie Leibovitz

?Kodak sells film, but they don?t advertise film; they advertise memories.? Theodore Levitt

?Life is like a camera. Just focus on what?s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don?t work out, just take another shot.? Unknown

?Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lenses of the camera.? Yousuf Karsh

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

?My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.? Steve McCurry

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

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

?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.? Alfred Eisenstaedt

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?Once you learn to care, you can record images with your mind or on film. There is no difference between the two.? Anonymous

?One doesn?t stop seeing. One doesn?t stop framing. It doesn?t turn off and turn on. It?s on all the time.? Annie Leibovitz

?Only photograph what you love.? Tim Walker

?Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.? Ambrose Bierce

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

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?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.? Don McCullin

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

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

?Photography is a means by which we learn to see the ordinary.? David Bailey

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

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

?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.? Aaron Siskind

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

?Photography is the story I fail to put into words.? Destin Sparks

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

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

?Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.? Anonymous

?Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.? Diane Arbus

?Taking pictures is savouring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.? Marc Riboud

?The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.? Andy Warhol

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?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.? Susan Meiselas

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

?The camera makes you forget you?re there. It?s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.? Annie Leibovitz

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

?The negative is the equivalent of the composer?s score and the print the performance.? Ansel Adams

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?The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.? Scott Lorenzo

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

?There is one thing the photograph must contain the humanity of the moment.? Robert Frank

?The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don?t have to explain things with words.? Elliott Erwitt

?Today everything exists to end in a photograph.? Susan Sontag

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?To me, photography is an art of observation. It?s about finding something interesting 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.? Elliott Erwitt

?We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.? Ralph Hattersley

?What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that?s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.? Karl Lagerfeld

?When I photograph, what I?m really doing is seeking answers to things.? Wynn Bullock

?When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I?d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.? Annie Leibovitz

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?When people ask me what equipment I use I tell them my eyes.? Anonymous

?When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.? Ansel Adams

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

?Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I?m going to take tomorrow.? Imogen Cunningham

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?You don?t take a photograph, you make it.? Ansel Adams

?You don?t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.? Unknown

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

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

?If I have any ?message? worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no shortcuts in photography.? Edward Weston

?If you photograph for a long time, you get to understand such things as body language. I often do not look at people I photograph, especially afterwards. Also when I want a photo, I become somewhat fearless, and this helps a lot. There will always be someone who objects to being photographed, and when this happens you move on.? Martin Parr

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?Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph? Andre Kertesz

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

?There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.? Robert Frank

?Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn?t look like somebody else?s work.? William Klein

?A good photograph is knowing where to stand.? Ansel Adams

?It?s important to take bad pictures. It?s the bad ones that have to do with what you?ve never done before. They can make you recognize something you hadn?t seen in a way that will make you recognize it when you see it again.? Diane Arbus

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?If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it?s a street photograph.? Bruce Gilden

?One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you?d be stricken blind.? Dorothea Lange

?If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.? Eve Arnold

?A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.? Irving Penn

?After following the crowd for a while, I?d then go 180 degrees in the exact opposite direction. It always worked for me.? Elliott Erwitt

?To me, photography must suggest, not insist or explain.? Brassai

?If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.? Jim Richardson

Original article published here.

About David Sornberger

Instagram: @DavidSornberger

Twitter: @SornbergerDavid

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David Sornberger is a Canadian travel photographer and writer. David is an educator by trade and he spends much of his time travelling, exploring the world and documenting travel, culture, and life. He has had many adventurous expeditions and has lived in South Korea, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and currently lives in a small town outside of Toronto.

David?s vivid images immerse the viewer in the subject?s culture, bringing a visual authenticity to his photographs. David published Paris: Photography by David Sornberger in 2017 and is the culmination of many visits to the City of Light over the past decade.


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