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

Margaret Bourke-White
[Photographer, b. 1904, New York, d. 1971, Darien, Connecticut.]

 The element of discovery is very important. I don’t repeat myself well. I want and need that stimulus of walking forward from one new world to another. 

Frederick Sommer
[Photographer, b. 1905, Angri, Italy, d. 1999, Prescott, Arizona.]

 My [photographs] are not pure: they are a seething wealth of imperfection. 

Lucas Samaras
[Artist, b. 1936, Kastoria, Greece, lives in New York.]

 You don’t have to say that nature is aware of your existence, that God knows you are here and you are suffering or having joy. The camera gives you proof that you have lived at least once. 

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

 Photographs excel, more than any other form of either art or journalism, in offering an immediate, viscerally emotional connection to the world…. [We] turn to photographs… for a glimpse of what cruelty, or strangeness, or beauty, or agony, or love, or disease, or natural wonder, or artistic creation, or depraved violence, looks like. 

Siegfried Kracauer
[Media critic and sociologist, b. 1889, Frankfurt, Germany, d. 1966, New York.]

 The flood of photos sweeps away the dams of memory. Never before has a period known so little about itself. In the hands of the ruling society, the invention of illustrated magazines is one of the most powerful means of organizing a strike against understanding… The ‘image-idea’ drives away the idea. 

Walker Evans
[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]

 Color is vulgar, beauty is unimportant, and nature is trivial. 

Christian Boltanski
[Artist, b. 1944, Paris, lives in Paris.]

 I hold a mirror to my face so that those who look at me see themselves and therefore I disappear. 

Brian Duffy
[Photographer, b. 1933, London, d. 2010, London.]

 Ninety-nine per cent of my work was advertising and crap. The people who were hiring me I didn’t like. Keeping a civil tongue up the rectum of a society that keeps you paid is an art which I was devoid of. I had nothing more to say in photographs. (1979, on why he quit photography)