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

Robert Adams
[Photographer and writer, b. 1937, Orange, New Jersey, lives in Astoria, Oregon.]

 With a camera, one has to love individual cases. 

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

 The journalistic photographer can have no other than a personal approach; and it is impossible for him to be completely objective. Honest—yes. Objective—no. 

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

 ... the eyes of artist had been so long educated to accept the most grossly fictitious conventions as truths of representation that many of the truths of the focusing-screen were at first repudiated as grotesque falsehoods. (1901) 

Douglas Coupland
[Writer, b. 1961, Baden-Söllingen, Germany, lives in Vancouver, Canada.]

 I tried to think of a witty play on “Every picture tells a thousand words,” but then the whole word/picture thing collapsed on me. 

Richard Avedon
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 2004, San Antonio, Texas.]

 I think all art is about control—the encounter between control and the uncontrollable. 

Edward Weston
[Photographer, b. 1886, Highland Park, Illinois, d. 1958, Wildcat Hill, California.]

 Photography, not soft gutless painting, is best equipped to bore into the spirit of today. 

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.”) 

Annette Messager
[Artist, b. 1943, Berck-sur-Mer, France, lives in Paris.]

 I never take a picture of a face because a face is somebody, an arm is not recognizable as somebody. When you take a photograph of someone’s face, it identifies it as somebody, but if you take just a fragment, it’s everybody. It’s not one person.