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

Nan Goldin
[Photographer, b. 1953, Washington, D.C., lives in New York and Paris.]

 Every time I go through something scary, traumatic, I survive by taking pictures. 

Sherrie Levine
[Artist, b. 1947, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, lives in New York.]

 Maybe I should see things as they really are and not as I want them to be. 

Gueorgui Pinkhassov
[Photographer, b. 1952, Moscow, lives in Paris.]

 The power of our Muse lies in her meaninglessness. Even the style can turn one into a slave if one does not run away from it, and then one is doomed to repeat oneself. 

Joel-Peter Witkin
[Photographer, b. 1939, Brooklyn, New York, lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.]

 I’ve come to realize that the mark is the primal gesture, the internal connection of the caveman to the cosmos; an impossibility similar to an impulse in an insect’s nervous system that it could somehow reduce to dust a steel beam by endlessly crawling over it. 

Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman)
[Singer, songwriter, and artist, b. 1941, Hibbing, Minnesota, lives in Malibu, California.]

 It rubs me the wrong way, a camera... It’s a frightening thing. Cameras make ghosts out of people. 

Duane Michals
[Photographer, b. 1932, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, lives in New York.]

 A photograph is not worth a thousand words. Everything is, after all, a thought. 

Susie Linfield
[Writer and critic, New York, lives in New York.]

 Photographs illuminate the terribly damaged family of man to which, I’m afraid, we all belong. 

Diane Arbus
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 1971, New York.]

 Recently I did a picture—I’ve had this experience before—and I made rough prints of a number of them. There was something wrong in all of them. I felt I’d sort of missed it and I figured I’d go back. But there was one that was just totally peculiar. It was a terrible dodo of a picture. It looks to me a little as if the lady’s husband took it. It’s terribly head-on and sort of ugly and there’s something terrific about it. I’ve gotten to like it better and better and now I’m secretly sort of nutty about it.