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

Allen Ginsberg
[Poet and writer, b. 1926, Newark, New Jersey, d. 1997, New York.]

 Whoever controls the media—the images—controls the culture. 

Sally Mann
[Photographer, b. 1951, Lexington, Virginia, lives in Lexington.]

 Exploitation lies at the root of every great portrait, and all of us know it. Even the simplest picture of another person is ethically complex. 

Duane Michals
[Photographer, b. 1932, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, lives in New York.]

 Women and men—it’s an impossible subject, because there can be no answers. We can find only bits and pieces of clues. 

Annette Kuhn
[Writer and theorist, lives in Lancaster, England.]

 A photograph can certainly throw you off the scent. You will get nowhere, for instance, by taking a magnifying glass to it to get a closer look: you will see only patches of light and dark, an unreadable mesh of grains. The image yields nothing to that sort of scrutiny; it simply disappears. In order to show what it is evidence of, a photograph must always point you away from itself. 

Danny Lyon
[Photographer, b. 1942, New York, lives in Ulster County, New York.]

 The sign at the entrance to my gym locker room says, “no cell phones please, cell phones are cameras.” They are not. A camera is a Nikon or a Leica or Rolleiflex, and when you strike someone with one, they know they have been hit with something substantial. 

Eddie Adams
[Photojournalist, b. 1933, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, d. 2004, New York.]

 All that a Pulitzer really does is give the obit writers something to put between the commas after your name. 

Slim Aarons
[Photographer, b. 1916, New York, d. 2006, Montrose, New York.]

 Photographing attractive people who were doing attractive things in attractive places. (Summary of his photographic career) 

George Bernard Shaw
[Writer, critic, and dramatist, b. 1856, Dublin, d. 1950, Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England.]

 There is a terrible truthfulness about photography that sometimes makes a thing ridiculous... take the case of the ordinary academician. He gets hold of a pretty model, he puts a dress on her and he paints her as well as he can and calls her “Juliet,” and puts a nice verse from Shakespeare underneath, and puts the picture in the Gallery. It is admired beyond measure. The photographer finds the same pretty girl; he dresses her up and photographs her, and calls her “Juliet,” but somehow it is no good—it is still Miss Wilkins, the model. It is too true to be Juliet.