Nicolò Taborra

Inspiration 50 Inspirational Quotes for Photographers

© Nicolò Taborra

Photography is a love affair with life.” – Burk Uzzle

We have carefully selected 50 inspirational quotes that offer insights into the minds of the photography greats.


─── by Edward Clay, August 23, 2022

From portraiture to landscape; color to monochrome, these profound assertions represent the full breadth of the photographic spectrum, and, combined with imagery from previous winners, finalists, and participants to our monthly awards, we hope will offer inspiration, advice, and encouragement in your photographic endeavors.

medium format analog color portrait of a skinhead girl in London, UK by Owen Harvey

Portrait Photography

1. “There’s nothing more interesting than the landscape of the human face”
– Irvin Kershner

2. “In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

3. “It’s a world, someone’s face. When I capture it, I see the future of the world.”
– Malick Sidibé

4. “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed.”
– Richard Avedon

5. “I like to photograph anyone before they know what their best angles are.”
– Ellen Von Unwerth

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Photo: “Mykie, Skinhead” – Hackney, London, UK © Owen Harvey

black and white landscape film photo of a road by Alexandre Caetano

Black & White Photography

1. “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

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

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

4. “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

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

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Photo: “Serra da Capelada” – Galicia, Spain © Alexandre Caetano

Color photo of a young nomadic reindeer herder in Yamal peninsula, Siberia, Northern Russia by Nicola Ducati

Documentary Photography

1. “Photography is by nature a documentary art.”
– August Sander

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

3. “Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.”
– Paul Strand

4. “Good photography is unpretentious.”
Walker Evans

5. “I never thought of myself as doing anything other than telling stories”
– Erich Lessing

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Photo: “Moon Compass” – Yamal peninsula, Northern Russia © Nicola Ducati

street color photograph of a family shot in Cuba, by Monia Marchionni photography quotes

Street Photography

1. “It’s not the streets, it’s where the streets lead you that’s important.”
– Bruce Davidson 

2. “The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”
– Robert Doisneau

3. “I photograph all the time – it’s a way of being alive and being connected,”
– Harry Gruyaert

4. “You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there.”
– Joel Meyerowitz

5. “If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.”
– Bruce Gilden

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Photo: “The gardens from the sky” – Cuba © Monia Marchionni

conceptual studi black and white photograph of a horse

Conceptual Photography

1. “I never knew what I was doing until I was done.”
– Man Ray 

2. “What I do is put mirrors in the right place to reflect an image.”
Lise Sarfati

3. “Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye”
– Dorothy Parker

4. “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.”
– Aaron Siskind

5. “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.”
– Ernst Haas

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Photo: “Dancing Fearless” © Jorg Karg

color photo of children playing in Cambodia by Jozef Macak

People Photography

1.  “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
– Alfred Eisenstaedt

2. “For me, the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture.” 
-Diane Arbus

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

4.”If you wait, people will forget your camera, and the soul will drift up into view.” – Steve McCurry

5. “I’m trying to capture something more fragile than a regular story. I love what people bring me.”  Agnes Varda

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Photo: Young monks, Siem reap, Cambodia © Jozef Macak

black and white studio portrait of a white woman by Arber Sefa

Fashion Photography

1. “I like form and shape and strength in pictures.”
  Herb Ritts

2. “For me, every photograph is a portrait; the clothes are just a vehicle for what I want to say.”
– Peter Lindbergh

3. “I always thought we were selling dreams, not clothes.”
– Irving Penn

4. “Fashion is an expression of the times. Elegance is something else again.”
Horst P Horst

5. “The truly fashionable are beyond fashion.”
Cecil Beaton

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Photo: © Arber Sefa

color landscape photograph of the Dolomite mountains in the Italian Alps by Nicolò Taborra

Landscape Photography

1. “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
– Ansel Adams

2. “Enjoyment of the landscape is a thrill”
– David Hockney

3. “Memory is the fourth dimension to any landscape”
– Janet Fitch

4. “I have a fondness for when the landscape becomes surreal.”
– Edward Burtynsky

5. “Any landscape is a condition of the spirit.”
– Henri Frederic Amiel

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Photo: Dolomites, Italy © Nicolò Taborra

colorful still life photograph of fruits

Color Photography

1. “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”
– Pablo Picasso

2. “Color is very much about atmosphere and emotion and the feel of a place.”
– Alex Webb

3. “The beauty is not in the colors, but in their harmony.”
– Marcel Proust

4. “I’m mystified that anyone thinks liking color is a bad thing”
– Saul Leiter

5. “In my photography, color and composition are inseparable. I see in color.”
– William Albert Allard

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Photo: “Pomegranate and Persimmons” © Ron Mayhew

color photograph of a man in front of Taj Mahal

Travel Photography

1. “The world makes up my pictures, not me.”
– Lee Friedlander

2. “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.”
– Bruno Barbey

3. “I never stay in one country more than three months. Why? Because I was interested in seeing, and if I stay longer I become blind.”
– Josef Koudelka

4. “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.”
– Paulo Coelho

5. “One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”
– Henry Miller

 

Photo: “Eternal Sail” – Agra, India © Arun Hegden

 

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All images © their respective owners