The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.
When Jack London had his portrait made by the noted San Francisco photographer Arnold Genthe, London began the encounter with effusive praise for the photographic art of his friend and fellow bohemian, Genthe. "you must have a wonderful camera...It must be the best camera in the world...You must show me your camera." Genthe then used his standard studio camera to make what has since become a classic picture of Jack London. When the sitting was finished, Genthe could not contain himself: "I have read your books, Jack, and I think they are important works of art. You must have a wonderful typewriter."
None. They should just go out and photograph and stop talking about it. That’s the only way they are going to find themselves. They can’t do it in their heads – they have to go out and do it in the camera and get it on film.
I was extravagant in the matter of cameras – anything photographic – I had to have the best. But that was to further my work. In most things I have gone along with the plainest – or without.
The whole thrust in my life right now is spinning my assignments around and making them work in a more personal way (...) I wanted to go back and do the original thing: one camera, one lens, one film. You really have to put yourself in a position of danger to be creative.
When someone sees me with a camera that weights almost ten pounds, he assumes immediately that I’m a serious photographer.
Having and camera makes you no more a photographer than having a hammer and some nails makes you a carpenter.
I was given a small camera as a wedding gift from a very dear friend. My first pictures were taken on my honeymoon. As soon as I became familiar with the camera, I was intrigued with the possibilities of expression it offered. It was like a discovery for me.
The difference bewteen the recorder photographer... and the artist photographer... is that the artist will, by experience and learning... force the camera to paint the imagination...the emotion... the concept and the intent... rather than faithfully and truthfully reproduce an unnatractive and unflattering record.
No matter what camera you use, it is not the camera but your artistic eyes who makes the photograph.
(...) Along with people who pretty themselves for the camera, the unattractive and the disaffected have been assigned their beauty.
It is not reality that photographs make immediately accessible, but images. For example, now all adults can know exactly how they and their parents and grandparents looked as children – a knowledge not available to anyone before the invention of cameras, not even to that tine minority among whom it was customary to commission paintings of their children. Most of these portraits were less informative than any snapshot. And even the very wealthy usually owned just one portrait of themselves or any of their forebears as children, that is, image of one moment of childhood, whereas it is common to have many photographs of oneself, the camera offering the possibility of possessing a complete record, at all ages.
The photograph may be presented as finely and artistically as you will; but to merit serious consideration, must be directly connected with the world we live in.
I believe that the chief value of photography as a means of communication depends entirely on the ability of the camera to arrest life instantly. It thrills me to speculate how the invention of photography has contributed to the speeding up of human reflexes. The rapidly working camera has sharpened man’s capacity to observe and observe rapidly; it has taught many of us to use our minds to classify visual phenomena in an instant of time; to relate our own attitude to that of the person in front of the camera in a split second. This to my mind is the essence of photojournalism.
To live, to experience the world, to communicate with a camera, all these are interrelated and cannot be separated from everyday live.
What is a good photograph? I cannot say. A photograph is tied to the time, what is good today may be a cliché tomorrow. The problem of the photographer is to discover his own language, a visual ABC. The picture represents the feelings and point of view of the intelligence behind the camera. This disease of our age is boredom and a good photographer must combat it. The way to do this is by invention – by surprise. When I say a good picture has surprise value I mean that it stimulates my thinking and intrigues me. The best way to achieve surprise quality is by avoiding clichés. Imitation is the greatest danger of the young photographer.
Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way.
No matter how advanced your camera you still need to be responsible for getting it to the right place at the right time and pointing it in the right direction to get the photo you want.
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Photography is never more strong in its emotional appeal or in the authority of its statement than when recording incidents in the life of man or man’s reaction to the life around him. Here is one province where it can be said with some certainty that the camera does not lie. It cannot afford to try.
The first thing I did with my very first camera was climb Mt. Fuji. Climbing Mt. Fuji is a lesson in determination and moderation. It would be fair to ask if I took the moderation part to heart. But it certainly was a lesson in respecting your camera. If I was going to live with this thing, I was going to have to think about what that meant. There were not going to be any pictures without it.
A camera can get you close without the burden of commitment. It's a nifty device that way, a magical passport into people's lives with no permanent strings attached.
To say that "the camera cannot lie" is merely to underline the multiple deceits that are now practised in its name.
These days I think the composers of music influence me more than any photographers or visual creators. I see something exciting or lovely and think to myself: 'If Papa Haydn or Wolfgang Amadeus or the red-headed Vivaldi were here with a camera, they'd snap a picture of what's in front of me.' So I take the picture for them.
First Person : "Is that camera fully automatic?" Second Person : "No. You have to take the film to the chemist!"
...the era of popular photography which began with the introduction of the first Kodak camera in 1888 is that of the anonymous photograph...Both sitter and photographer may be no longer identifiable. Yet...these primative pictures are of great historic significance...Through them we have a detailed picture of everyday life of a kind never previously available.
Human vision is untrustworthy, subjective and selective. Camera vision is total and non – objective.
Ansel Adams in 1930 had been training to become a concert pianist while considering a career as a photographer. He decided, after seeing the photographs by Paul Strand, that "the camera, not the piano, would shape [his] destiny." His mother and aunt both pleaded, "Do not give up the piano! The camera cannot express the human soul!" To which Adams replied, "The camera cannot, but the photographer can."
Jimmy Olsen: "I didn't have my camera with me." Perry White: "A photographer eats with his camera, a photographer sleeps with his camera!" Lois Lane: "I'm glad I'm a writer."
In response to the quip at a dinner party from a woman down-scaling the skill associated with making photographs: 'But Jack anyone can take a photograph'! Picone's reply, 'Yes you are correct but only some people can make a camera sing and dance'.
When I use the camera, I often feel like I know part of the people or places I come in contact with.
The photographer was thought to be an acute but non-interfering observer – a scribe, not a poet. But as people quickly discovered that nobody takes the same picture of the same thing, the supposition that cameras furnish an impersonal, objective image yielded to the fact that photographs are evidence not only of what’s there but of what an individual sees, not just a record but an evaluation of the world. It became clear that there was not just a simple activity called seeing (recorded by, aided by cameras) but ‘photographic seeing’, which was both a new way for people to see and a new activity for them to perform.
The camera can be lenient; it is can also expert at being cruel. But its cruelty only produces another kind of beauty, according to the surrealist preferences which rule photographic taste.
(...) Although there a sense which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as painting and drawings are. Those occasions when the taking of photographs is relatively undiscriminating, promiscuous, or self-effacing do not lessen the didacticism of the whole enterprise.
I enjoy traveling and recording far-away places and people with my camera. But I also find it wonderfully rewarding to see what I can discover outside my own window. You only need to study the scene with the eyes of a photographer.
What some highbrows call rapport is nothing more than a mild flirtation between photographer and the girl on the other side of the camera. Some models get so professional they can send hours flirting with the camera itself while the poor photographer is reduced to the role of spectator.
When the novice photographer starts taking pictures, he carries his camera about and shoots everything that interests him. There comes a time when he must crystallize his ideas and set off in an particular direction. He must learn that shooting for the sake of shooting is dull and unprofitable.
The camera is the instrument that brings the inner passion and the outward event into harmony with one another, this linking, or, rather, this coincidence, is successfully brought about, then we find one of the things that no image-making medium can accomplish to the same degree.
Small, portable digital cameras that exceed the performance of an off-the-shelf Nikon using 35mm slide film are further away from current reality than the proposed NASA manned Mars mission, although I expect both to happen sometime during my lifetime.
Your mind is like a live camera that is constantly taking pictures of every single moment that comes onto you... So be a good photographer!
When I look at pictures I have made, I have forgotten what I saw in front of the camera and respond only to what I am seeing in the photographs.
Learning to photograph the world upside down and backwards can have interesting implications for your real life. You'll never be boring again. Or bored.
You must always remember that the camera is merely a box with a hole in it which transmits light onto a light sensitive surface to make an image. Everything else is superfluous.