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

Aaron Siskind
[Photographer, b. 1903, New York, d. 1991, Providence, Rhode Island.]

 There are two forces operating in my work: pleasure and terror. 

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
[Writer, b. 1835, Hannibal, Missouri, d. 1910, Redding, Connecticut.]

 The sun never looks through a photographic instrument that does not print a lie. The piece of glass it prints is well named a “negative”—a contradiction—a misrepresentation—a falsehood. I speak feelingly of this matter, because by turns the instrument has represented me to be a lunatic, A Solomon, a missionary, a burglar and an abject idiot. (1866) 

Marc Riboud
[Photographer, b. 1923, St.-Genis-Laval, France, d. 2016, Paris.]

 My obsession is with photographing life at its most intense as intensely as possible. It’s a mania, a virus as strong as my instinct to be free. 

Kansuke Yamagata
[Photographer and poet, b. 1914, Nagoya, Japan, d. 1987, Nagoya.]

 The surreal exists within the real. Tireless experimentation with new photography leads to the creation of a new beauty. 

John Pfahl
[Photographer, b. 1939, New York, lives in Buffalo, New York.]

 People think the camera steals their soul. Places, I am convinced, are affected in the opposite direction. The more they are photographed (or drawn and painted) the more soul they seem to accumulate. 

Paul Theroux
[Writer, b. 1941, Medford, Massachusetts, lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Haleiwa, Hawaii.]

 “I’ve never seen Marilyn like that before,” a critic once said to me. “That’s not Marilyn,” I said. “It’s a picture.” 

Paul Virilio
[Writer and theorist, b. 1932, Paris, lives in La Rochelle, France.]

 ... the blinding Hiroshima flash... literally photographed the shadow cast by beings and things, so that every surface immediately became war’s recording surface, its film. 

Wright Morris
[Writer and photographer, b. 1910, Central City, Nebraska, d. 1998, Mill Valley, California.]

 [We] make images to see clearly: then we see clearly what we have made.