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Ansel Adams, ca 1950

Photography is the art, science, and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film, or electronically by means of an image sensor


  • A photograph is a biography of a moment.
    • Art Shay as cited in interview: Dean Reynalds (2014 February 13) Photographs tell story of decades-long romance. CBS News.
  • There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
    • Ansel Adams as cited in: Elizabeth T. Schoch (2002) The everything digital photography book. p. 105
  • Pictures produced by camera can resemble paintings or drawings in presenting recognizable images of physical objects. But they have also characteristics of their own, of which the following two are relevant here: first the photograph acquires some of its unique visual properties through the technique of mechanical recording; and second, it supplies the viewer with a specific kind of experience, which depends on his being aware of the picture's mechanical origin. To put it more simply: (1) the picture is coproduced by nature and man and in some ways looks strikingly like nature, and (2) the picture is viewed as something being by nature.
    • Rudolf Arnheim (1974). "On the nature of Photography", Critical Inquiry, Vol.1, n.1, p. 156; As cited in: A. Bianchin (2007), "Theoretical Cartography Issues in the face of New Representation"
  • In photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the ordinary.
  • Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.
    • Henri Cartier-Bresson as cited in: Bruce Elder (1989) Image and identity: reflections on Canadian film and culture. p. 114
  • You put your camera around your neck in the morning, along with putting on your shoes, and there it is, an appendage of the body that shares your life with you. The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
  • Photography is a strong tool, a propaganda device, and a weapon for the defense of the environment... Photographs are believed more than words; thus they can be used persuasively to show people who have never taken the trouble to look what is there. They can point out beauties and relationships not previously believed or suspect to exist.
    • Eliot Porter as cited in: Rebecca Solnit (2007) Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. p. 235
  • Photography as a fad is well-nigh on its last legs, thanks principally to the bicycle craze
  • There is a reality — so subtle that it becomes more real than reality. That's what I'm trying to get down in photography.
    • Alfred Stieglitz as cited in: M. Orvell (1989) The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 1880-1940. p. 220
  • Photography, if practiced with high seriousness, is a contest between a photographer and the presumptions of approximate and habitual seeing. The contest can be held anywhere...
    • John Szarkowski (1973) Looking at photographs: 100 pictures from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). p. 192
  • My own eyes are no more than scouts on a preliminary search, or the camera's eye may entirely change my idea.
    • Edward Weston as cited in: Harold Evans, Edwin Taylor (1978) Pictures on a page: photojournalism and picture editing. p. 75

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