What photography quotes do you think everyone should know?

Mine is:

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

  • 1
    It is now community wiki.
    – Imageree
    Jul 15 '10 at 21:23
  • 1
    – esm
    Jul 15 '10 at 21:24
  • 3
    Community wiki doesn't fix a question that invites a discussion. Its on topic, but I think were avoiding these sorts of 'polls'.
    – Tim Post
    Jul 16 '10 at 4:15
  • Http://www.PhotoQuotes.com
    – Imageree
    Jul 9 '11 at 21:06
  • 2
    Now that we have a chat room, discussion threads really do not bring any real benefit to our forum. Feel free to continue such discussions in the "Photographic Memories" chat room (find link to the right.)
    – jrista
    Sep 14 '11 at 15:42

12 Answers 12


Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

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

"Photography is no more about equipment than writing is about word processors" ~Unknown

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus" ~Mark Twain

"Buying an expensive Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner." ~Unknown

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

"No photographer is as good as the simplest camera." ~Edward Steichen

  • On the Cartier-Bresson quote - this was said in film days, I wonder how has digital affected this number. It is possible to learn faster by getting instant feedback, but it is also a lot easier to shoot crap without worrying how much it costs. My gut feeling says the number has increased.
    – Imre
    Jun 23 '11 at 11:28

"The best camera is the one you have with you."
-- unknown (to me at least)

  • I think this quote is attributed to Chase Jarvis, who shot a series of amazing pictures with his iPhone: blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2009/09/… Jul 24 '10 at 13:27
  • 3
    I really have a hard time believing chase jarvis is the source on this one. I've been hearing this for years and years.
    – dpollitt
    Jun 18 '11 at 13:45
  • I've heard it attributed to Barry Staver
    – MikeW
    Feb 22 '12 at 4:28

"In photography, as in life, the most important mathematics is subtraction. Subtract all that is distracting and unnecessary until only the essential remains."

-- Unknown (reiterated by Andy Mumford in ND Mag)

  • Related: "To photograph is to frame. To frame is to exclude." - Susan Sontag
    – Michael C
    Jul 11 '18 at 4:45

"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" - Percy W. Harris


"I take a lot of pictures ... some of them come out OK. A few of them come out OK and are what I intended"

-- me


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


“Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.” —Ansel Adams

“In my mind’s eye, I visualize how a particular . . . sight and feeling will appear on a print. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph. It is an intuitive sense, an ability that comes from a lot of practice.” —Ansel Adams

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” —Ansel Adams

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

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” —Dorthea Lange

“Where there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us ro see.” —Dorthea Lange


“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” - Jim Richardson at National Geographic, via Joe McNally in The Moment It Clicks.


If you are not your own harshest critic, you are your own worst enemy. - Jay Maisel


Gary Winogrand: "My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph."

It only gets better when you realize he was lying through his teeth.


There are things hidden for all the world until photographed. - Craig Coverdale


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 Siskund

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