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

William Burroughs
[Writer, b. 1914, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1997, Lawrence, Kansas.]

 There is in fact something obscene and sinister about photography, a desire to imprison, to incorporate, a sexual intensity of pursuit. 

Edward Curtis
[Photographer and ethnographer, b. 1868, Whitewater, Wisconsin, d. 1952, Los Angeles.]

 I devoted thirty-three years to gathering text material and pictures for [The North American Indian]. I did this as a contribution; without salary, direct or indirect financial returns. When I was done with the last volume, I did not possess enough money to buy a ham sandwich; yet the books will remain the outstanding story of the Indian. (1937) 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo
[Photographer, b. 1902, Mexico City, d. 2002, Mexico City.]

 A photographer’s main instrument is his eyes. Strange as it may seem, many photographers choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. Those photographers are blind. 

Lev Manovich
[Artist, theorist, and critic, b. 1960, Moscow, lives in New York.]

 ... the reason we think that computer graphics technology has succeeded in faking reality is that we, over the course of the last hundred and fifty years, have come to accept the image of photography and film as reality. 

Frederick Wiseman
[Filmmaker and Documentarian, b. 1930, Boston, Massachusetts, lives in Boston.]

 The effort to see and really to represent is no idle business in face of the constant force that makes for muddlement. The great thing is indeed that the muddled state too is one of the very sharpest of the realities, that it also has color and form and character, has often in fact a broad and rich comicality. 

Nick Knight
[Photographer, b. 1958, London, England, lives in London.]

 I think photography has been wrestling with a burden of telling the truth, which I don’t think it was ever particularly good at. 

Joan Didion
[Writer, b. 1934, Sacramento, California, lives in New York.]

 For however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable “I.” 

Günter Grass
[Writer, b. 1927, Danzig, Germany (now Gdansk, Poland), d. 2015, Lübeck, Germany.]

 [To be an artist,] this desire to conquer all with images.