Hello there readers!
February is already gone and I though writing this article about photographers quotes I admire and that somehow are inspiring, not only for me, but for everyone. In most of my website galleries there are quotes about cities, situations or photographer’s. So why not begin with one of my favorites, the one and only, Robert Capa.
One of the co-founders of Magnum, is also my favorite photographer. The Hungarian fearless and talented war photographer Robert Capa had a unique way of seeing things, and one I truly admire. The truth is I never get tired writing about him and I already wrote an article about why he is my mentor in so many ways (read more here). A legend in the war field, Capa is one of the greatest war photographers that existed and brought us some of the most famous images throughout history. One of his most daring quotes is also one I truly identify myself:
“The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.”
My thoughts on that quote: as a person who despise lies anyhow, I find this line perfect. We may add some Photoshop effects in a photo, as change to black and white, sometimes a blur, but the photo is real, the place is real, the people on it are real. I admire people who still photograph with film, but I am at this moment 100% digital. For me it is more practical and fast. Somehow I think if Capa lived on our days, he would love it.
A major influence in my work (if not the biggest), Daido is not only a reference to me as a street photographer, but also a lesson on how to lead a life in a much wise way. The Japanese photographer has an incredible way to see things and translate it to photos that are undeniable fascinating. His harsh black and white is fascinating to me. Every time I start to see Daido’s photography feels like I am diving into his raw streets. Very few photographers have that effect on me. I still remember the first time I saw his work: whether you hate it or you love it. I also wrote an article about how he influences my street photography and how pleased I am with that. You can read it here. One of my favorite quotes on him:
“When I take photographs, my body inevitably enters a trancelike state. Briskly weaving my way through the avenues, every cell in my body becomes as sensitive as radar, responsive to the life of the streets... If I were to give it words, I would say: "I have no choice... I have to shoot this... I can't leave this place for another's eyes... I have to shoot it... I have no choice." An endless, murmuring refrain.”
My thoughts on that quote: Daido translates in a very simple way how I feel when I take my strolls with my camera. It feels like a trance. He couldn't have said it better, as if we have no choice, we just have to shoot it leaving no place for another's eyes. It is so egoistic! And yet feels so damn right. Thank you Daido!
The French photographer Marc Riboud is mostly known for his work in far east China and Vietnam. Iconic images such as the workmen balancing like dancers on the metal girders of the Eiffel Tower and the young Vietnam war protester facing down a rank of riflemen with a flower in her hand? Yes, these are his photos, and remarkable ones. Riboud also worked with the legendary co-founders of Magnum, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and David Seymour (mostly known as Chin). A world traveler, his work comprises from Alaska to Algeria. My favorite part of his work is the time he spent in Russia in the 60s.
“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”
My thoughts on that quote: well, that is so well said that I really don’t have much to add...Marc really knew what life was all about. He knew very well how to capture the anguish of a war as well as fleeting tender moments. Marc was full of life.
Saul was an American photographer with a very poetic vision of life and its moments. His street photos of New York city in the 40s and 50s are my favorite part of his work. His book Early Black and White is all about capturing his experiences filled with noir mysterious moments and poignant human experiences. When it comes to Saul, I am also a great fan of his colorful photography. As I said, his look was poetic, like an ethereal beauty.
“I don’t have a philosophy. I have a camera.” Saul Leiter
My thoughts on that quote: Saul Leiter was a simple man. Although he shines among the masters, never was his goal to be famous. Actually he had a desire to avoid success. I think this line translates a lot of how he felt and how I understand how it feels like.
Oh the Russian Alexander! I am fascinated about Constructivism and his design ideas. What a visionary mind for that time. Rodchenko is known mostly as graphic designer and painter, but he was also a photographer and a very visionary one. His work was innovative and completely different of what was shown at that time. He constantly took photos of his subjects from the most diverse angles, the idea was to to shock the public. It was not easy to choose one quote, but here it goes:
“Photography has all the rights, and all the merits, necessary for us to turn towards it as the art of our time.”
My thoughts on that quote: Let’s just think for a minute in that saying. What a brilliant mind already seeing what photography was, is and how it changed the way we see things. Not only he knew that photography is a way of art, but he also lived that in all his doings.
Another Hungarian that I love and also has a great influence in my work. When it comes to vintage Parisian nights, the first name that comes to my mind is Brassaï. He was a night walker and a curious one about Parisian people. An observer of his time, Brassaï used to think that there was nothing more surrealist than reality itself (you can read more about this amazing Hungarian photographer in my article here). My favorite quote on him:
“I think that there are photographers who compose very well but who have no understanding of life or human things.’’ Brassaï
My thoughts on that quote: Brassaï was such a wise man! So very often I see tons of photographers with the most expensive gears, so full of techniques, but lacking the most important thing: the feeling about it. Photography is not only technique, lens, cameras, etc., it is much more than that.
Another big name in war photography, the British photojournalist Don McCullin is also one of my favorites. A career dedicated to international conflicts and human suffering, the work of Don is a compassionate vision through a lifetime of images that will haunt us. The reality he brought to the world translated into images is a warning for reflection, attention and learning. It was hard to choose one of his quotes, some of them shows how truly hard is to be in a war environment and how it has emotional collateral damages. But here in my article I thought this one would fit better:
"Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures."
My thoughts on that quote: I think this is one of the best quotes ever about photography. Plain and simple. As I mentioned before, everything revolves into feelings, emotions. It comes from the soul.
Henri Cartier Bresson
One of the most famous photographers ever, was also a complex one. He had a lot of point of views that I really don't share, but regardless that, he was a fantastic photographer with a very passionate eye. The man behind “the decisive moment” followed the idea that: if you see a great moment, than you have a great street photography. And to assure that, he used to take lots of images of the same scene. Which I totally agree. Here is one of my favorite quotes on him:
“— How do you make your pictures?
— I don’t know, it’s not important.”
My thoughts on that quote: exactly, it is not important. What counts is what you bring to the public. The photography on his mind was supposed to give meaning to the world. The fleeting moment that becomes a great joy! So if you chose to photograph, put all your heart and mind into it!
TIP: As a voracious reader and eager for information, I do not only read about the masters on internet, but I also buy their books and I encourage all who are fond of photography to do the same. Not only helps me study their legacy, but also makes my work improve each day more. Real photography is not Instagram.