It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.
I do note that photography, a despised medium to work in, is full of empty phonies and worthless commercial people. That presents quite a challenge to the man who can take delight in being in a very difficult, disdained medium.
I began to wonder - I knew I was an artist or wanted to be one - but I was wondering whether I really was an artist. I was doing such ordinary things that I could feel the difference. Most people would look at those things and say, 'Well, that's nothing. What did you do that for? That's just a wreck of a car or a wreck of a man. That's nothing. That isn't art.' They don't say that anymore.
I say half jokingly that photography is the most difficult of the arts. It does require a certain arrogance to see and to choose. I feel myself walking on a tightrope instead of on the ground.
Nobody should touch a Polaroid [camera] until he's over sixty
What I believe is really good in the so-called documentary approach to photography is the addition of lyricism.[this quality] is usually produced unconsciously and even unintentionally and accidentally by the cameraman.
Somewhere in our search for reality we have passed something by, something important that we no longer find amid the bits and pieces of disassembled matter-something vital that we cannot build out of these parts. There is surely something else, some piece of divinity in us, something that was before the elements, and that owes no homage to the sun.
The photographs are not illustrative. They, and the text, are coequal, mutually independent, and fully collaborative. By their fewness, and by the importance of the reader's eye, this will be misunderstood by most of that minority which does not wholly ignore it. In the interests, however, of the history and future of photography, that risk seems irrelevant, and this flat statement necessary.
It's easy to photograph light reflecting from a surface, the truly hard part is capturing the light in the air.
Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach.
It is the way to educate your eye and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop.
That's my idea of what a portrait ought to be, anonymous and documentary and a straightforward picture of mankind.
I work rather blindly. I have a theory that seems to work with me that some of the best things you ever do sort of come through you. You don't know where you get the impetus and response to what's before your eyes.
Good photography is unpretentious.
Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.
The meaning of quality in photography's best pictures lies written in the language of vision. That language is learned by chance, not system.
When I first made photographs, they were too plain to be considered art and I wasn't considered an artist. I didn't get any attention at all. The people who looked at my work thought, well, that's just a snapshot of the backyard. Privately I knew otherwise and through stubbornness stayed with it...
Documentary: That's a sophisticated and misleading word. And not really clear" The term should be documentary style" You see, a document has use, whereas art is really useless.
I wanted so much to write that I couldn't write a word.
Incidentally, part of a photographer's gift should be with people. You can do some wonderful work if you know how to make people understand what you're doing and feel all right about it, and you can do terrible work if you put them on the defense, which they all are at the beginning. You've got to take them off their defensive attitude and make them participate.
The secret of photography is, the camera takes on the character and personality of the handler.
In order to put meaning back into our lives, we should recognize illusions for what they are, and we should reach out and touch the fabric of reality.
With the camera, it's all or nothing. You either get what you're after at once, or what you do has to be worthless. I don't think the essence of photography has the hand in it so much. The essence is done very quietly with a flash of the mind, and with a machine. I think too that photography is editing, editing after the taking. After knowing what to take, you have to do the editing.
Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.
Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.
Detachment, lack of sentimentality, originality, a lot of things that sound rather empty. I know what they mean. Let's say, "visual impact" may not mean much to anybody. I could point it out though. I mean it's a quality that something has or does not have. Coherence. Well, some things are weak, some things are strong...
... nature photographs downright bore me for some reason or other. I think: 'Oh, yes. Look at that sand dune. What of it?'
Privilege, if you're very strict, is an immoral and unjust thing to have, but if you've got it you didn't choose to get it and you might as well use it. You're privileged to be at Yale, but you know you're under an obligation to repay what's been put into you.
Do we know what we look like? Not really.
Science has rolled its war wagons over the crushed myths of so many religious beliefs. It has marshaled its mechanics to explain the motions of the sun, moon, and stars. It has mapped the heavens, leaving no place for gods to live.
I'm sometimes called a 'documentary photographer' but... a man operating under that definition could take a sly pleasure in the disguise. Very often I'm doing one thing when I'm thought to be doing another.
It is easy to imagine fantasy as physical and myth as real. We do it almost every moment. We do this as we dream, as we think, and as we cope with the world about us. But these worlds of fantasy that we form into the solid things around us are the source of our discontent. They inspire our search to find ourselves.
Science has discovered much. The engineering is wonderful, epicycles and all. And yet, as we look at this vast, elaborate structure built on layer and layer of complex constituents, can we help but be reminded of the Land of Oz. Have we found the Emerald City? Is this what we were searching for? Is this the ultimate fabric of reality? Is this all there is?
You see, a document has use, whereas art is really useless. Therefore art is never a document, although it can adopt that style.
Many photographers are apt to confuse color with noise, and to congratulate themselves when they have almost blown you down with screeching hues alone-a bebop of electric blues, furious reds, and poison greens.
Color tends to corrupt photography and absolute color corrupts it absolutely. Consider the way color film usually renders blue sky, green foliage, lipstick red, and the kiddies' playsuit. These are four simple words which must be whispered: color photography is vulgar.
What America needs is a political revolution.
When you say documentary, you have to have a sophisticated ear to receive that word. It should be documentary style, because documentary is police photography of a scene and a murder ... that's a real document. You see, art is really useless, and a document has use. And therefore, art is never a document, but it can adopt that style. I do it. I'm called a documentary photographer. But that presupposes a quite subtle knowledge of this distinction.
It's too presumptuous and naÃ¯ve to think you can change society by a photograph or anything else... I equate that with propaganda; I think that's a lower rank of purpose.
I used to try to figure out precisely what I was seeing all the time, until I discovered I didn't need to. If the thing is there, why, there it is.