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

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 The world is full of fictional characters looking for their stories. 

Jeff Wall
[Photographer, b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada, lives in Vancouver.]

 One paradox I have found is that, the more you use computers in picture-making, the more “hand-made” the picture becomes. Oddly, then, digital technology is leading, in my work at least, toward a greater reliance on handmaking because the assembly and montage of the various parts of the picture is done very carefully by hand. 

W. Eugene Smith
[Photographer, b. 1918, Wichita, Kansas, d. 1978, Tucson, Arizona.]

 ... and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future—causing them caution and remembrance and realization. 

Tom Wolfe
[Writer, b. 1930, Richmond, Virginia, d. 2018, New York.]

 Suddenly there is magic in such items... as random and eccentric framing, blurred images, keeling horizons, distorted scale, unreal colors (puce waters, chartreuse skies), grotesque foreshortening... and nightclub photo lighting with its flash overexposures and clotted shadows and inexplicable detail and tilted walls and stray items—arms, legs, shoes, cloven bottoms, anorexic elbows—appearing in an amputated condition about the edges... Once regarded as technical limitation of the medium, as annoyances to be overcome by professional expertise, they now become like animae, tree spirits, to be treated with reverence and looked to for guidance. 

Shomei Tomatsu
[Photographer, b. 1930, Nagoya, Japan, d. 2012, Okinawa, Japan.]

 When I am faced with the victims of the bomb, I find myself almost praying as I release the shutter of my camera. It is as if they are the God of the fin-de-siècle, Christ of the nuclear age. 

Garry Winogrand
[Photographer, b. 1928, New York, d. 1984, Tijuana, Mexico.]

 You know why your pictures are no fucking good? Because they don’t describe the chaos of life. (Quoted by Philip-Lorca DiCorcia) 

Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay)
[Boxer, b. 1942, Louisville, Kentucky, d. Scottsdale, Arizona.]

 Emmett Till and I were about the same age. A week after he was murdered... I stood on a corner with a gang of boys, looking at pictures of him in the black newspapers and magazines. In one, he was laughing and happy. In the other, his head was swollen and bashed in, his eyes bulging out of their sockets, and his mouth twisted and broken... I couldn’t get Emmett Till out of my mind, until one evening I thought of a way to get back at white people for his death. 

Luc Delahaye
[Photographer, b. 1962, Tours, France, lives in Paris.]

 Being an artist is nothing, or at least, not enough; what you want is to be a poet.