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

Larry Clark
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1943, Tulsa, Oklahoma, lives in New York.]

 I always wished I could be a painter or a filmmaker, anything but a fucking photographer. I certainly didn’t want to be in a photography gallery. 

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

 Recently I did a picture—I’ve had this experience before—and I made rough prints of a number of them. There was something wrong in all of them. I felt I’d sort of missed it and I figured I’d go back. But there was one that was just totally peculiar. It was a terrible dodo of a picture. It looks to me a little as if the lady’s husband took it. It’s terribly head-on and sort of ugly and there’s something terrific about it. I’ve gotten to like it better and better and now I’m secretly sort of nutty about it. 

Lee Miller
[Photographer and model, b. 1907, Poughkeepsie, New York, d. 1976, Sussex, England.]

 [Being a great photojournalist is] a matter of getting out on a damn limb and sawing it off behind you. 

Rosalind Krauss
[Writer, critic, and historian, b. 1941, Washington, D.C., lives in New York.]

 Contrivance is what ensures that a photograph will seem surrealist. 

Cornelius Jabez Hughes
[Photographer, b. 1819, London, d. 1894, London.]

 ... it is not to be wondered that the impulses forward should emanate rather from the amateur than the professional. The former pursues the art for pleasure, the latter for profit. The one can try all manner of experiments, and whether he succeed or fail he secures his object—agreeable occupation. (1863) 

Susan Sontag
[Writer, theorist, and critic, b. 1933, New York, d. 2004, New York.]

 There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera. 

Joel Meyerowitz
[Photographer, b. 1938, New York, lives in New York.]

 I think about photographs as being full, or empty. You picture something in a frame and it’s got lots of accounting going on in it—stones and buildings and trees and air—but that’s not what fills up a frame. You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there. 

R. Crumb
[Cartoonist, b. 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lives in Sauve, France.]

 They were just snapshots, nothing special, nothing particularly artistic. They were used for utility purposes.
(On photographs of mundane streetscapes he had “Stanley Something-or-other” take in Sacramento in 1988 to serve as backgrounds to his cartoons. “People don’t draw it, all this crap, people don’t focus attention on it because it’s ugly, it’s bleak, it’s depressing... But, this is the world we live in; I wanted my work to reflect that, the background reality of urban life.”)