50 Famous Photography Quotes

I have put together 50 of the most inspirational and famous photography quotes of all time.

Being photographers, we’re always looking for different methods to motivate ourselves when we’re in hitting a creative block.

These 50 famous photography quotes spoken by some of the world’s greatest artists will show you how they see/saw the world and how they approached photography as an art form.

I’ve included quotes and sayings capturing raw human emotions that form the process of creating photographs which start in your head and heart.

50 Famous Photography Quotes (1-10)

1. “We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
– Ralph Hattersley

2. “The context in which a photograph is seen affects the meaning the viewer draws from it.”
– Stephen Shore

3. “Photographs are just light and time.”
– Aza Holmes

4. “The way that light hits objects, I think, is one of the more important things that sculpture and photography share.”
– Rashid Johnson

5. “Only photography has been able to divide human life into a series of moments, each of them has the value of a complete existence.”
– Eadweard Muybridge

6. “What do we feel when we look at a good photograph? We just want to be there, right at the exact moment that photo taken!”
– Mehmet Murat Ildan

7. “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
– Scott Lorenzo

8. “Black and white are the colors of photography. To me, they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.”
– Robert Frank

9. “I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.”
– Henri Matisse

10. “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


50 Famous Photography Quotes (11-20)

11. “A tear contains an ocean. A photographer is aware of the tiny moments in a persons life that reveal greater truths.”
– Anonymous

12. “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
– Dorothea Lange

13. “Essentially what photography is life lit up.”
– Sam Abell

14. “…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.”
– Philip Jones Griffiths

15. “I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.”
– Gilles Peress

16. “To some extent, the cult surrounding black-and-white photography is based on nostalgia.”
– René Burri

17. “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

18. “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

19. “To me, photography must suggest, not insist or explain.”
– Brassai

20. “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”
– Jim Richardson

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50 Famous Photography Quotes (21-30)

21. “I see more in black and white – I like the abstraction of it.”
– Mary Ellen Mark

22. “Black and white is abstract; color is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world.”
– Joel Sternfeld

23. “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

24. “For me, the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

25. “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
– Robert Frank

26. “Without vision, the photographer perishes.”
– David duChemin

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

28. “Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell.”
– Kim Edwards

29. “I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of place could be photographed.”
– Annie Leibovitz

30. “The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.”
– Yann Arthus-Bertrand


50 Famous Photography Quotes (31-40)

31. “Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”
– Ambrose Bierce

32. “Wherever there is light, one can photograph.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

33. “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
– Robert Frank

34. “With photography, you zero in; you put a lot of energy into short moments, and then you go on to the next thing.”
– Robert Mapplethorpe

35. “A camera is a SAVE button for the mind’s eye.”
– Roger Kingston

36. “I lived and grew up in the black-and-white period of photojournalism.”
– René Burri

37. “One of these days, I’m going to publish a book of all the pictures I did not take. It is going to be a huge hit.”
– René Burri

38. “Everywhere is something which could be beautiful. You must only to see and to know what and how to take off, to crop from the infinity. Abstract, fine art, nature, landscape, and portrait photography.”
– Florin Constantinescu

39. “Media today is even more black and white, then early photography ever was.”
– Loesje

40. “Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.”
– Berenice Abbott


50 Famous Photography Quotes (41-50)

41. “Photography is a calling that requires vigilance and alertness for that moment in time that only occurs once.”
– Caroline Mueller

42.“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”
– Unknown

43. “Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.”
– Joe McNally

44. “I think landscape photography, in general, is somewhat undervalued.”
– Galen Rowell

45. “In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv.”
– Henri Cartier Bresson

46. “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
– Diane Arbus

47. “Photography is the art of frozen time… the ability to store emotion and feelings within a frame.”
– Unknown

48. “When a silhouette or shape is as beautiful as it is functional and relevant, that’s true luxury.”
– Reed Krakoff

49. “I know the world that I am painting is not a reality. It is a whim, an entertainment to provoke something in people, whether as escapism or relief. I think that is very valid.”
– Tim Walker

50. “A landscape image cuts across all political and national boundaries, it transcends the constraints of language and culture.”
– Charlie Waite

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50 Famous Photography Quotes: Final Words

These 50 famous photography quotes have built up over the decades to create an inspiring list of motivational words which hopefully have brightened your day.

These sayings are designed to inspire beginner photographers as well as professionals to see the art as a creation of stories from the world around us.

Bookmark and save this article about 50 famous photography quotes so you can find it again in the future. If you’ve got any other questions about photography chances are you’ll find the answers in our other articles and tutorials below.


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