Photography

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There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. ~ Ansel Adams

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

Quotes[edit]

Great photography comes about at the right time but it also needs the right cut that enhances that precise moment…Photography must feed on both contents and form, if it gives up the one for the other it is not going to last. ~ Augusto De Luca
One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind. To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. I have only touched it, just touched it. ~ Dorothea Lange
  • 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
  • A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.
    • Ansel Adams "A Personal Credo" (1943), published in American Annual of Photography (1944), reprinted in Nathan Lyons, editor, Photographers on Photography (1966), reprinted in Vicki Goldberg, editor, Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present (1988)
  • I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term — meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching — there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.
    • Ansel Adams "A Personal Credo" (1943), published in American Annual of Photography (1944), reprinted in Nathan Lyons, editor, Photographers on Photography (1966), reprinted in Vicki Goldberg, editor, Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present (1988)
  • For me the future of the image is going to be in electronic form. … You will see perfectly beautiful images on an electronic screen. And I'd say that would be very handsome. They would be almost as close as the best reproductions.
    • Ansel Adams Interview with Paul Hill (March 1975), published in P. Hill & T.J. Cooper (1979), Dialogue with Photography
  • I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.
    • Ansel Adams The Negative (1981), introduction to second edition
  • When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
    • Ansel Adams Attributed to Adams in: AB bookman's weekly: for the specialist book world. (1985) Vol 76, Nr. 19-27; p. 3326
  • There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
    • Ansel Adams Attributed to Adams in E.T. Schoch (2002), The Everything Digital Photography Book (2002) p. 105
  • I would never apologize for photographing rocks. Rocks can be very beautiful. But, yes, people have asked why I don’t put people into my pictures of the natural scene. I respond, “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” That usually doesn’t go over at all.
  • Yes, in the sense that the negative is like the composer’s score. Then, using that musical analogy, the print is the performance. (Paraphrased as "Film is the score and the print is the performance.")
  • 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.
    • Dorothea Lange, as quoted in Dorothea Lange : A Photographer's Life (1978), p. vii
  • One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind. To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. I have only touched it, just touched it.
    • Dorothea Lange, as quoted in Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life (1994) by Elizabeth Partridge
  • 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
  • Rise and shine, Adam. You're probably wondering where you are. I'll tell you where you might be. You might be in the room you die in. Up until now you simply sat in the shadows watching others live out their lives. But what do voyeurs see when they look into the mirror? Now, I see you as a strange mix of someone angry, yet apathetic. But mostly just pathetic. So are you going to watch yourself die today, Adam, or do something about it?
  • Hello, Mark. If you are so sick, then why do I have so many photos of you up and about? Let's put your so-called "illness" to the test. Right now, there's a slow acting poison in your veins. The antidote is inside the safe; the combination to the safe is written on the wall. Hurry up and program it in, but watch your step. By the way, that's a flammable substance smeared on your body, so I would be careful with that candle if I were you... or all the people you've burned with your act just might have their revenge.

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