The Huge List of Awesome Quotes from Renowned Photographers & Artists.

by Gavin Seim: Anyone can learn to use a camera to capture snapshots of time. That’s valuable for history and for precious memories. But it takes more to be a skilled photographer. Not just a picture taker, but a picture maker.

It takes tireless study, practice and long experience. I contend it’s no easier than being a sculptor or a doctor. A lawyer, or a painter. It requires being a skilled technician, a craftsman and a creative director. It’s neither fast or easy. But it’s one of the most rewarding skills one can study and master.

But that’s just my opinion. So I’ve scoured websites, videos, books and even picked up the phone for thoughts about photography from many of the renowned masters of it’s history. Thoughts that seem resound it’s ever alluring call. Reminding us to return to the basics of what makes a great photograph and perhaps to remember, that digital is just a baby next to more than a hundred fifty years of photographic history… Gav


  • “The whole key lies very specifically in seeing it in the minds eye which we call visualization” – Ansel Adams
  • “If continually people look and look and always come away enriched, then it’s a great work” – Sister Wendy.
  • “If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no short cuts in photography.” – Edward Weston
  • “The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.” – Ansel Adams
  • “Tone” may be the least understood, and least utilized factor in composing and finishing images” –  Ken Whitmire
  • “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen
  • “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
  • “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
  • “Becoming a professional artist takes talent and perseverance, even more so when the field is photography.” – Clyde Butcher
  • “Never put lettering in your photos unless you want it read.” – Jay Meisel
  • “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” – Ansel Adams
  • “In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” – August Sander
  • “If you have enough craft, you’ve done your homework and you’re practiced. You can then make the photograph you desire.” – Ansel Adams
  • “No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film. – Robert Adams
  • “A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.” – Ansel Adams
  • “Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand.” – Margaret Bourke-White
  • “We have glorified the camera itself. Which is only a tool.” Ken Whitmire
  • “Photography is the power of observation, not the application of technology.” – Ken Rockwell
  • “There are two people in every photograph: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams
  • “A sloppy performance in a photograph is as distressing as a sloppy performance in music.” – Fred Picker
  • “Be aware of every square millimeter of your frame.” – Jay Meisel
  • “We are basically directors of images. Our objective is to attract the eye and leave an impression the mind.” – Ken Whitmire
  • “There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams
  • “No photographer is as good as the simplest camera. – Edward Steichen
  • “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

Ken Whitmire 2010, by Gavin Seim. Ken is one of the foremost pioneers of wall portraiture and a master of using space in wall art. He’s also a really cool guy.
  • “If you cant find anything wrong with the image you just made, the next one won’t be any better.” – Ken Whitmire
  • “Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.” – Ansel Adams
  • “Maybe because it’s entirely an artist’s eye, patience and skill that makes an image and not his tools.” – Ken Rockwell
  • “The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.” – Ansel Adams
  • “Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.” – Edward Weston
  • “Painters did not paint 4×5’s, 5×7’s and 8×10’s. Painters painted wall sized images”. – Ken Whitmire.
  • “The camera’s only job is to get out of the way of making photographs.” – Ken Rockwell
  • “My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
  • “If we put a mirror a tapestry or a poster on or wall it’s large. So why on earth would be hang a ten in portrait of our family.” – Ken Whitmire
  • “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams
Alfred Stieglitz, self portrait. 1886.
  • “When composing a picture… “Be aware of every square millimeter of your frame.” – Jay Meisel
  • “Wherever there is light, one can photograph.” – Alfred Stieglitz
  • “I see no reason for recording the obvious.” – Edward Weston
  • “People say photographs don’t lie, mine do.” – David LaChapelle
  • “I think landscape photography in general is somewhat undervalued.” – Galen Rowell
  • “The trouble with photographing beautiful women is that you never get into the dark room until after they’ve gone.” – Yousuf Karsh
  • “Every ten years a man should give himself a good kick in the pants.” – Edward Steichen
  • “The home is all about family. Without family we would not need a home. What furniture could be more important than an image of what that home has produced.” – Ken Whitmire.
  • “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • “When that shutter clicks, anything else that can be done afterward is not worth consideration.” – Edward Steichen
  • “Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.” – Percy W. Harris
  • “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” – Dorothea Lange
  • “I find the single most valuable tool in the darkroom is my trash can.” – John Sexton
  • “The important thing is not the camera but the eye.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
  • “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” – Ansel Adams
  • “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz
  • “The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.” – W. Eugene Smith
  • “Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.” – Eliot Porter
  • “The composition is already there, you just need to crop it” – Jay Maisel
  • “A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy.” – Galen Rowell
  • “Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy