23 Insightful Quotes About Photography

Photography, like any creative pursuit, can be a taxing endeavor. Finding the right angle, composing the perfect shot, getting the lighting to look just right… these can be painstakingly frustrating. And just like any artist creating something completely new, artists in photography can hit walls. Writers call it writer’s block, some might call it reaching a plateau or burning out, sometimes it’s just needing inspiration. Whatever you call it, it can be exasperating.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 23 quotes about photography. Some of these are insightful, others are funny, while some are just anecdotal. Many of these quotes originate from famous photographers who know a thing or two about subject, and some are just from people who had a few wise words. So the next time you feel a little uninspired, check out these quotes and see what the experts have to say.

  1. “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams
  2. “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” – Dorothea Lange
  3. “Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure.” – Tony Benn
  4. “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt
  5. “The best thing about a photograph is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” – Andy Warhol
  6. “It’s more important to click with people that to click the shutter” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
  7. “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” – Annie Leibovitz
  8. “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
  9. “In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” – August Sander
  10. “I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.” – Gilles Peress
  11. “Photography is a love affair with life.” – Burk Uzzle
  12. “Photography is the simplest thing in the world, but it is incredibly complicated to make it really work.” – Martin Parr
  13. “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” – Marc Riboud
  14. “Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” – Yousuf Karsh
  15. “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus
  16. “All pictures 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
  17. “Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo Cookies.” – Diane Arbus
  18. “Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” – Destin Sparks
  19. “There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” – Robert Frank
  20. “Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” – Sally Mann
  21. “No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.” – Robert Adams
  22. “You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” – Joan Miro

And to cap it all off, a truly insightful quote from America’s sixteenth president, honest Abe.

There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes. – Abraham Lincoln

Thanks for reading, and keep that shutterfinger ready!