I believe in the resonance and staying power of quiet photographs. These photographs required a certain seeing, but few special techniques, and no tricks. Something though was hard. It was hard being between photographs and not knowing when or how another image would reveal itself.
William Albert Allard
A good print is really essential. I want to take strong documentary photographs that are as good technically as any of the best technical photographs, and as creative as any of the best fine-art photographs. [...] I don't want to just be a photo essayist; I'm more interested in single images...ones that I feel are good enough to stand on their own.
Mary Ellen Mark
It is a nostalgic time right now, and photographs actively promote nostalgia. Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched with pathos. ... All photographs are memento mori. To take photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt
Yeah, you're right about having entire rooms full of film and photos... in that Sydney Mines house I have a darkroom, I have boxes of film and home movie footage... I have a few projectors, I have piles of Kodachrome slides... I like photographs. The world is always running away from society and the only way to keep the stuff that's happened in the past is by taking photographs, I can keep memories of things alive with photographs, ' Alecto responded. 'People say that a time machine can't be invented, but they've already invented a device that can stop time, cameras are the world's first time machines... The steel mill, the coal mines, the train tracks, the smog in the sky, I've been able to rescue it on super-8 and Kodachrome, and no one can remediate those photographs, I can keep them as long as I want to.
It wasn't until I realised that I could actually take nice photographs that I started to become passionate about it. I then got a few jobs working for magazines in London, and I would get terribly excited and intense about doing a job and taking photographs and looking through the lens to capture something amazing.
I am not much interested in discovering new territories to photograph. Instead, what I wish my pictures could do is lessen the distance one often feels when looking at landscape photographs... The longer I work, the more important it is to me to make photographs that tell my story as a participant, and not just an observer of the land.
The photographs of space taken by our astronauts have been published all over the place. But the eye is a much more dynamic mechanism than any camera or pictures. It's a more exciting view in person than looking at the photographs. Of course, I personally am sick and tired of hearing people talk like that: I want to see it myself!
Though infested with many bewildering anomalies, photographs are considered our best arbiters between our visual perceptions and the memory of them. It is not only their apparent 'objectivity' that grants photographs their high status in this regard, but our belief that in them, fugitive sensation has been laid to rest.
I would that my photographs might be, not the coverage of a news event, but an indictment of war - the brutal corrupting viciousness of its doing to the minds and bodies of men; and, that my photographs might be a powerful emotional catalyst to the reasoning which would help this vile and criminal stupidity from beginning again.
W. Eugene Smith
Photographs have always been the tar baby of censors and obscenity laws. Literature can certainly (if it's any good) conjure up the most pornographic imagination. But photographs dare to be real. No matter how contrived or constructed they are, there's that damn body staring you in the face.
Photographs are but one link in a potentially endless chain of reduplication; themselves duplicates (of both their objects and, in a sense, their negatives), they are also subject to further duplication, either through the procedures of printing or as objects of still other photographs...
You should find something better to do with your time, ' Mandy told him. 'I spend my time shooting people, and then I take them to darkrooms and blow them up.' '... Come again?' Alecto questioned with a tone of alarm in his voice. 'I take photographs and develop them myself, I've got my own darkroom... it was a joke, ' Mandy laughed. 'I love photography and I'm gonna be a photojournalist someday.' 'Really?' Alecto asked. For the first time since she'd met him, he sounded slightly enthusiastic. '... I take photographs and I film my own home movies, I have a darkroom as well... but I can't be a photojournalist like you... I can't be anything... still, at least I can take photographs, it's fun.
In a world where the 2 billionth photograph has been uploaded to Flickr, which looks like an Eggleston picture! How do you deal with making photographs with the tens of thousands of photographs being uploaded to Facebook every second, how do you manage that? How do you contribute to that? What's the point?
The inferiority of photographs to the best works of artists, so far as resemblance is concerned, lies in their catching no more than a single expression. If many photographs of a person were taken at different times, perhaps even years apart, their composite would possess that in which a single photograph is deficient.
My photographs tried to find the politicians at their most wary, most vulnerable, and perhaps most truthful moments. I wanted the photographs to reveal the person through stance and stare, when he or she was most reflective or off guard, in order to measure the person and event unfolding.
My camera, my intentions stopped no man from falling. Nor did they aid him after he had fallen. It could be said that photographs be damned for they bind no wounds. Yet, I reasoned, if my photographs could cause compassionate horror within the viewer, they might also prod the conscience of that viewer into taking action.
W. Eugene Smith
I often find myself worrying about celebrities. It's an entirely caring thing; it's not like the people who commission those photographs with cruel arrows to go on the covers of the celebrity magazines. The photographs show botched plastic surgery, raging eczema, weight gain and horrible clothes for maximum schadenfreude.
Images anesthetize. An event known through photographs certainly becomes more real than it would have been if one had never seen the photographs ... But after repeated exposure to images it also becomes less real. ... 'concerned' photography has done at least as much to deaden conscience as to arouse it.
Always, when the words art and artistic are applied to my photographic work, I am disagreeably affected. This is due, surely, to the bad use and abuse made of those terms. I consider myself a photographer, nothing more. If my photographs differ from that which is usually done in this field, it is precisely because I try to produce not art but honest photographs, without distortions or manipulations.
The ostensible subject of my photographs may be motion, but the subtext is time. A dancer's movements illustrate the passage of time, giving it a substance, materiality, and space. In my photographs, time is stopped, a split second becomes an eternity, and an ephemeral moment is solid as sculpture.
I am interested in making photographs which comment on the experience of a place as well as describe it. My position has not typically been one of advocacy for or against any political position. But I regard photographs as commentary, and that includes, at times, taking a specific political viewpoint on an issue.
A photograph is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence. Like a wood fire in a room, photographs-especially those of people, of distant landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past-are incitements to reverie. The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is enhanced by distance.
Each time I arrived in a new city, I'd get lost in the streets and photograph everything that looked interesting, taking nearly a thousand photographs every day. After each day of shooting, I'd select 30 or 40 of my favorite photographs and post them on Facebook. I named the albums after my first impression of each city.
I'll take photographs with kids. People who want to take photographs with me. People who like the movies. People who supported me. I'll do that all day, all night, that's fine. But the bombardment of the paparazzi is just... I truly don't understand. It just feels like this kind of gluttonous, horrific sport. It's like sport.
The paradox is that some of the most artistically valuable contemporary photographs are content with being photographs, are not under the same compulsion to pass themselves off - or pimp themselves out - as art. The simple truth is that the best exponents of the art of contemporary photography continue to produce work that fits broadly within the tradition of what Evans termed 'documentary style'.
Because each photograph is only a fragment, its moral and emotional weight depends on where it is inserted. A photograph changes according to the context in which it is seen: thus Smith's Minamata photographs will seem different on a contact sheet, in a gallery, in a political demonstration, in a police file, in a photographic magazine, in a book, on a living-room wall. Each o these situations suggest a different use for the photographs but none can secure their meaning.
To take photographs is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. To take photographs means to recognize-simultaneously and within a fraction of a second-both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye, and one's heart on the same axis.
To live in a world of photographs is to live in a world of substitutes... or so it seems, whose actual referent is always the other, the described, the reality of a world once removed. I prefer, on the other hand, to look at the photographs as something real and of my world, a strange and powerful thing... part of a language, a system of communication, an economy of signs.
... my father loved to take photographs of me. When I was nine I made my own costumes for a school play and I experienced becoming different characters. I loved to document myself as different images and I think my work evolved after this favorite activity. The photographs I exhibited in New York juxtaposed reality and fantasy. There was everyday life and fantasy was dismantling that reality.
I try to see the whole woman,' Eddie said to Hannah. 'Of course I recognize that she's old, but there are photographs - or the equivalent of photographs in one's imagination of anyone's life. A whole life, I mean. I can picture her when she was much younger than I am - because there are always gestures and expressions that are ingrained, ageless. An old woman doesn't see herself as an old woman, and neither do I. I try to see her her whole life in her. There's something so moving about someone's whole life.
Photographs are diary entries That's all they can be. Photographs are just documentations of a day's event. At the same time, they drag the past into the present and also continue into the future. A day's occurrence evokes both the past and the future. That's why I want to clearly date my pictures. It's actually frustrating, that's why I now photograph the future
Space, as you can see, is a complete void, nothing but clear air, without solid objects or the illumination of light. On some of our photographs of space, however, studied close to, even without a magnifying glass or an enlargement lens, you will notice, in the remote background, stars, some solitary, others in shimmering clusters. And in the next set of photographs you will see the alien machine we encountered that sat stubbornly stationary in the way of our unselfgoverned path.
But there is more to a fine photograph than information. We are also seeking to present an image that arouses the curiosity of the viewer or that, best of all, provokes the viewer to think-to ask a question or simply to gaze in thoughtful wonder. We know that photographs inform people. We also know that photographs move people. The photograph that does both is the one we want to see and make. It is the kind of picture that makes you want to pick up your own camera again and go to work.
The reason I do photographs is to help people understand my music, so it's very important that I am the same, emotionally, in the photographs as in the music. Most people's eyes are much better developed than their ears. If they see a certain emotion in the photograph, then they'll understand the music.
[Cindy Sherman's] photographs reverse the terms of art and autobiography. They use art not to reveal the artist's true self but to show the self as an imaginary construct. There is no real Cindy Sherman in these photographs; there are only the guises she assumes. And she does not create these guises; she simply chooses them in the way that any of us do.
Some of the people who are now manipulating photos, such as Andreas Gursky, make the argument - rightly - that the straight photographs of the 1940s and 50s were no such thing. Ansel Adams would slap a red filter on his lens, then spend three days burning and dodging in the dark room, making his prints. That's a manipulation. Even the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, with all due respect to him, are notoriously burned and dodged.
I flopped on the overstuffed kitchen couch and watched him go. I wondered what would happen to all his films and photographs in the upstairs closet - the documentaries on homelessness and drug addiction, the funny short subjects, the half-finished romantic comedy, the boxes of slice-of-life photographs that spoke volumes about the human condition. I wondered how you stop caring about what you've ached over, sweated over. (Thwonk)
I suspect it is for one's self-interest that one looks at one's surroundings and one's self. This search is personally born and is indeed my reason and motive for making photographs. The camera is not merely a reflecting pool and the photographs are not exactly the mirror, mirror on the wall that speaks with a twisted tongue. Witness is borne and puzzles come together at the photographic moment which is very simple and complete. The mind-finger presses the release on the silly machine and it stops time and holds what its jaws can encompass and what the light will stain.
We both disliked rude rickshwalas, shepu bhaji in any form, group photographs at weddings, lizards, tea that has gone cold, the habit of taking newspaper to the toilet, kissing a boy who'd just smoked a cigarette et cetra. Another list. The things we loved: strong coffee, Matisse, Rumi, summer rain, bathing together, Tom Hanks, rice pancakes, Cafe Sunrise, black-and-white photographs, the first quiet moments after you wake up in the morning.
Most of the photographs I make are personal pictures and never end up in print. Even the magazines I shoot for on assignment publish very few of the actual selects. Sometimes these personal pictures will end up in a book of my work. Oftentimes, however, they are simply photographs which I hope resonate, yet rarely find a publication home. I do a lot of personal work in Rio de Janeiro, and this of a parkour artist making a jump on Ipanema Beach is such a moment.
David Alan Harvey