I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost--that is important. If they are art objects at the same time, that's fine with me.
I have never taken a picture for any other reason than that at that moment it made me happy to do so.
Photography is a magic thing. A thing that has mysterious odors, a little strange and frightening, something one quickly grows to love.
You don’t go out to accidentally find something that’s going to make a good picture, but [instead you find it] in yourself, knowing already what you want to do... at least subconsciously if not consciously; you find the thing in so-called nature or so-called reality which corresponds to this preconceived, this pre-sensitized, concept, which is hidden somewhere in your imagination or your subconscious... You go out and find what you are prepared to see.
I quite agree with you that the photographer who produces a photograph which is merely technically good, owes more to the discoveries of the laboratory technicians than to himself. However, the imagination transcends all technical perfection, and sometimes even converts a technical disadvantage to a further advantage.
Everything that I see must become personal; otherwise, it is dead and mechanical. Our only chance to escape the blight of mechanization, of acting and thinking alike, of the huge machine which society is becoming, is to restore life to all things through the saving and beneficent power of the human imagination.
The golden rule is “work fast.” As for framing, composition, focus—this is no time to start asking yourself questions: you just have to trust your intuition and the sharpness of your reflexes.
Photography and writing are marvelous distractions from painting. I might even have found movies more interesting than photography. I tried it a bit, but not enough.
My brother Zissou had a vivid intelligence and he invented so many things—wooden horses, crates on wheels, even a velodrome—but I was always the little boy, in a way, kept in the corner, dying to take part. This really grieved me until one day I said to myself, “Now I am going to catch all these beautiful things which they do.” And I invented my piége d'oeil, my eye-trap, which consisted in opening and shutting my eyes rapidly three times. This way I had the impression that I caught all of what was going on: the images, the sounds, the colors. All.
In all my work I have been animated with three convictions: 1) that there is no essential reason why the creative imagination cannot work with a ray of light acting upon a sensitized surface as effectively as it can with a brush laden with pigment, 2) that photography is one of the most authentic and integral modes of expression possible in the particular kind of world in which we live, [and] 3) that in photography, as in the other arts, the quality of a man's imagination is the only thing that counts—technique and technical proficiency mean nothing in themselves.
I have approached the buildings as psychological and poetic manifestations—rather than from the more technical viewpoints of the architect and historian (which mostly miss the living spirit behind the forms).
It is this strange fusion of psychological factors that excites me... All buildings, all cities that have been greatly lived, that have been greatly dreamed on, and that extend far through time—have this secret life.
Photography is something you learn to love very quickly. I know that many, many things are going to ask me to have their pictures taken and I will take them all.
It's marvellous, marvellous! Nothing will ever be as much fun. I'm going to photograph everything, everything!
Robert, Zissou and Louis are too big and I am too small. Most of the time they won’t let me play with them; I have to be a spectator.
1) Never, never be lazy.
2) Know how to eat well; the right foods in small quantities.
3) Know how to sleep well; the sleep that comes after a good day's work.
4) Know how to appreciate, really appreciate, any good art.
5) Know how to enjoy silence, as well as good music.
6) Open your ears to the ideas and suggestions of God.
7) Love God.
To talk about photos rather than making them seems idiotic to me. It’s as though I went on and on about a woman I adored instead of making love to her.
What’s so incredibly amusing with photography is that while seemingly an art of the surface, it catches things I haven’t even noticed. And it pains me not to have seen things in all their depth.
..I frequently attempt to show in my work, in various ways, the unreality of the “real” and the reality of the “unreal.” This may result, at times, in some disturbing effects. But art should be disturbing; it should make us both think and feel; it should infect the subconscious as well as the conscious mind; it should never allow complacency nor condone the status quo.
..dissatisfaction with one’s self and dissatisfaction with the world—is necessary—it is one of the prime things that keeps the artist going on—that drives him—happiness, as such, must come in between times, as best it can.
Let us see as steadily and completely as possible the realities of our age: the wasted lives, the scattered and misused resources (human and material), the steel magic of the misdirected machinery, the mad clockwork tragedy of it all.
The mystery of light [and] the enigma of time form the twin pivots around which all my work revolves. In addition... my work attempts to create a mythology for our contemporary world.
Papa is like God (as a matter of fact, he might even be God in disguise). He’s just told me, “I’m going to give you your own camera.” Now I will be able to make portraits of everything... everything. (Childhood diary entry, 1901)
I think just about everything has been tackled, but it may be that things will be done again, only better and differently.
I attempt, through much of my work, to animate all things—even so-called “inanimate” objects—with the spirit of man. I have come, by degrees, to realize that this extremely animistic projection rises, ultimately, from my profound fear and disquiet over the accelerating mechanization of man’s life; and the resulting attempts to stamp out individuality in all spheres of man’s activity—this whole process being one of the dominant expressions of our military-industrial society. The creative photographer sets free the human contents of objects; and imparts humanity to the inhuman world around him.
The physical object, to me, is merely a steppingstone to an inner world where the object, with the help of subconscious drives and focused perceptions, becomes transmuted into a symbol whose life is beyond the life of the objects we know and whose meaning is a truly human meaning. By dealing with the object in this way, the creative photographer sets free the human contents of objects; and imparts humanity to the inhuman world around him.
I did not start out as a photographer but, instead, as a writer. Whether for good or ill, this fact has inspired and colored many of my concepts ... Through photography I have also tried to tie together and further my active interests in painting, in poetry, in psychology, and in architecture. Whatever value my photography has, it is only because of these other interests.