Lessons from Masters, Photography

15 Quotes On Photography From The People Who Have Inspired Me So Far

In the words of Seth Godin:

“I think that heroes are more important than mentors. A hero is somebody who you can emulate; somebody who raises the bar for you. Heroism scales, so one person can be a hero for a lot of people. Mentoring is over-rated in that there’s this myth that they will pick you, cover for you when you make mistakes, encourage you, and be at your side until you become your true, best self. There are very few of those relationships in the world. “

In this age of eternal self-improvement and hustle, everyone speaks about the importance of having a mentor. However, I am not lucky enough to have one yet. Firstly, it’s hard for me to surrender to a single person to guide me through the process. Secondly, I have not yet encountered a person in my real life (not talking about the internet or social media here) following whose footprints look possible for me – maybe they started their photography career at a very different age than mine, maybe they belong to a different socio-economic class, or perhaps the particular person doesn’t mentor anybody. A few weeks back I approached an established photographer saying that I would like to work under him, however, the conditions weren’t at all suitable for me. Alas! I had to turn back to my heroes for inspiration, and the will to carry on (the rejection from the potential mentor crushed me).

So, I have listed 15 quotes from the photography heroes who have inspired me the most.

15 Quotes From The Photographers Who Have Inspired Me So Far:

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.

Edward Weston

The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.

Elliott Erwitt
Photograph by William Klein.

Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work.

William Klein

To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

Dorothea Lange
Photograph by Gregory Heisler.

All the planning, intuition, technical prowess, and knowledge, as well as the trust and rapport you have (or haven’t) established, will show up in the picture, frozen forever.

Gregory Heisler

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.

Ansel Adams

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

Edward Weston

Sometimes one waits too long for the perfect moment before snapping the picture. You never realize that you needed was to change your perspective.

Miguel Syjuco
Photograph by Joe McNally.

Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.

Joe McNally

All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.

Susan Sontag

When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!

Ted Grant
Photograph by Imogen Cunningham.

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

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