Welcome to the world’s largest photo quotation resource. These are not tired old quotes scammed from online sources and passed around like stale donuts at a committee meeting. This photo quote collection is the uniquely flavored creation of a single intelligence, not a group effort or a corporate product.


You’ll find thousands of fresh quotes on photography, with more added constantly. They’re hand-selected to inform, confound, and provoke. Browse photo quotes by author, of course, but you can also engage with the quotations by subject. In fact, the photo quotes are available in three clusters of subjects—Themes, Oppositions, and On Photography.  Plunge in. Get smart. Be challenged. Cause trouble.  —Quoteman

Joe Rosenthal
[Photographer, b. 1911, Washington, D.C., d. 2006, Novato, California.]

 I swung my camera around and held it until I could guess that this was the peak of the action, and shot. I couldn’t positively say I had the picture. It’s something like shooting a football play; you don’t brag until it’s developed. (On his photograph of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.) 

John Baldessari
[Artist, b. 1931, National City, California, lives in Venice, California.]

 I didn’t see painters doing paintings of glassware and glass shelves or sand dunes and receding snow fences. Why does that interest photographers and not artists? 

Helmut Newton
[Photographer, b. 1920, Berlin, d. 2004, Los Angeles.]

 Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar. 

George Rodger
[Photojournalist, b. 1908, Hale, Cheshire, England, d. 1995, Smarden, Kent, England.]

 When I discovered that I could look at the horror of Belsen—4,000 dead and starving lying around—and think only of a nice photographic composition, I knew something had happened to me and it had to stop. 

Paul Strand
[Photographer, b. 1890, New York, d. 1976, Oregeval, France.]

 I’ve always felt you can do anything you want in photography, if you can get away with it. 

Daido Moriyama
[Photographer, b. 1938, Ikeda-cho, Osaka, Japan, lives in Tokyo.]

 Photography is the act of “fixing” time, not of “expressing” the world. The camera is an inadequate tool for extracting a vision of the world or of beauty. 

Bill McKibben
[Writer, b. 1960, Palo Alto, California, lives near Lake Chanokaub, New York.]

 ... the constant flow of images undercuts the sense that there’s actually something wrong with the world. How can there really be a shortage of whooping cranes when you’ve seen a thousand images of them—seen ten times more images than there are actually whooping cranes left in the wild? 

Vik Muniz
[Artist, b. 1961, Sao Paulo, Brazil, lives in New York.]

 Illusions as bad as mine make people aware of the fallacies of visual information and the pleasure to be derived from such fallacies.