Category: Quotes
Blue Origin’s Logo | Gradatim Ferociter
Blue Origin’s logo. (Copyright, Blue Origin)

Blue Origin’s logo. (Copyright, Blue Origin)

The logo for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has the Latin phrase “Gradatim ferociter” which translates to “step by step, ferociously.”

If you’re building a flying vehicle, you can’t cut any corners. If you do, it’s going to be [just] an illusion that it’s going to make it faster. … You have to do it step by step, but you do want to do it ferociously.

Jeff Bezos

For more, read the interview on the NY Times or on Geekwire.


Josef Koudelka | Spain

The maximum, that is what has always interested me.

– Josef Koudelka

SEVILLE, Spain—Holy Week, 1977 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

SEVILLE, Spain—Holy Week, 1977 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

ANDALUSIA, Spain—Holy Week, 1975 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

ANDALUSIA, Spain—Holy Week, 1975 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Granada, Andalucia, SPAIN © 1971 Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Granada, Andalucia, SPAIN © 1971 Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos


Hiroshi Watanabe | Rikishi (2005)

My expenses are almost as high as my photography income and I have so little left at the end even when I am lucky. So, maybe I am not qualified to answer this question. Then why am I doing photography? I think it is a combination of passion and stupidity. For me, photography is intellectual, …artistic, and curiosity fulfilling. I love making photographs.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Touki, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Touki, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I am not sure if I am successful professional photographer. If “successful professional” means I can live a good, somewhat luxurious, life by the profession, then I am certainly not.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Fukujumaru, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Fukujumaru, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I make every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around me, a world in flux that, at very least in my mind, deserves preservation, and that I constantly seek to expand.
I strive for both calculation and discovery in my work, studying my subjects in preparation, while at the same keeping my mind open for the surprises. The pure enjoyment of this process drives and inspires me. Mostly, I seek to capture people, traditions, and locales that first and foremost are of personal interest, while other times I seek pure beauty.
I always go to places with some kind of expectation and I come back with a lot more, with images I never expected.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Kumanosato, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Kumanosato, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I believe there’s a thread that connects all of my work — my personal vision of the world as a whole. I make every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around me, a world in flux that, at very least in my mind, deserves preservation.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Ichinoya, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Ichinoya, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

My father bought me a Minolta 35mm SRL and that was my first camera. I had no prior interest in photography. I played a lot and enjoyed the four years of college life, but somehow I became serious about photography as I studied it. When I graduated, I found a job in the US which happened to be a production company specializing in making commercials for Japan. I thought I would work for the company for a year or two and look for a photography job meanwhile. But one photographer whom I met suggested that I stayed on with the job. He said advertising and filming had much potential while photography had no future. At that time, I was starting a family and I had the responsibility. So, I stayed on with the job and a four years later I started my own production company. After I ran the business for 15 years, one morning, I woke up and all the sudden I decided to become a photographer again. I don’t know why but I had decided. I traveled and built up a portfolio between commercial jobs for 5 years and after that I closed down the business and became a full time photographer. It’s been 10 years since then and I am still a photographer.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Asakubo, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Asakubo, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I try to find something that I don’t understand. That’s what drives me.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Rikishi 3, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Rikishi 3, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

My photographs reflect both genuine interest in my subject as well as a respect for the element of serendipity.
I wish for my images to distill scenes ranging from the ephemeral to the eternal, from the esoteric to the symbolic. A current that underlies my work is the concept of preservation.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

To view more of this series and the work of the master Hiroshi Watanabe, click here.


Tom Waits | On The Pogues’ Rum, Sodomy & the Lash
The Pogues, date and photographer unknown

The Pogues, date and photographer unknown

Tom Waits writes about his 20 most cherished albums in an article in The Guardian. Here is his passage about Rum, Sodomy & the Lash:

Sometimes when things are real flat, you want to hear something flat, other times you just want to project onto it, something more like…. you might want to hear the Pogues. Because they love the West. They love all those old movies. The thing about Ireland, the idea that you can get into a car and point it towards California and drive it for the next five days is like Euphoria, because in Ireland you just keep going around in circles, those tiny little roads. ‘Dirty Old Town’, ‘The Old Main Drag’. Shane has the gift. I believe him. He knows how to tell a story. They are a roaring, stumbling band. These are the dead end kids for real. Shane’s voice conveys so much. They play like soldiers on leave. The songs are epic. It’s whimsical and blasphemous, seasick and sacrilegious, wear it out and then get another one.

– Tom Waits

Tom Waits. Portobello Road, London 1976 © Michael Putland

Tom Waits. Portobello Road, London 1976 © Michael Putland

A remastered and expanded version of Rum, Sodomy & the Lash was released in 2005 and featured a poem by Tom Waits.

Their music is like
the brandy of the damned
Pogue Mahone
they are the last
pure hearts
from Dickens , Joyce,Dylan Thomas
to Christy Moore
like Red Diamonds
Pirates full of malarkey
they’re little giants
they’re Bill Sykes
They are all orphans
and they are leaving
on the 2:10 train
with no ticket
Rapscallion, angry, weeping
passed out songs,songs
that seem to be born
effortlessly, or
not born but found
on top of an old wood stove
like a Bowler hat
and the Pogues know
where the little people go
and they follow them
they’re as old as treasure island
songs that we should all carry
i learnt ’em and sung ’em
and changed ’em
and passed them on
down the wild blue road
as Shane MacGowan & the Pogues
warm their hands
on a fire
made from chopsticks
and a horse pulls a milk wagon
up the steep, wet cobblestone
streets & stumbles
to his knees, bloodying them
as a man
no bigger than my thumb
dances in the broken glass
and jumps rope with a shoe lace
the song he sings

Tom Waits
California , March 2004

It is one of my favorite albums, a sequence of songs that would cause us all to link arms and belt out the lyrics, spilling beer everywhere. You should probably buy it now.

The Pogues, date and photographer unknown

The Pogues, date and photographer unknown


Bruce Davidson | East 100th Street

What’s great about looking at your work is the emotion comes back. The emotion comes back. The rhythm of what you were photographing comes back. It’s almost like a musical score. You can see where I may have quit too soon, or stayed too long. Or was bored and took a lot of pictures of nothing because I wanted to put film through the camera. All kinds of things are working when you’re looking at the contact sheet.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Not everyone wants his picture taken. I began to photograph a man collecting junk in a yard. He saves the metal and sells it. He wouldn’t let me photograph him. I found out why. He was receiving welfare and he thought that if I took a picture of him collecting junk to sell, he might have his welfare taken from him.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

That often what makes a good picture is almost subliminal. It could be a look on a face or a detail on a piece of clothing. You just have to go with the flow sometimes. When I was a kid, I played baseball and you heard the sound the bat made when it really connected with the ball; you knew you had a great hit. It’s the same with photography: sometimes you hear that click of the shutter and you know you’ve caught something really special.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

An old man said to me one day, ‘Oh, I don’t want a picture like that. I want to get dressed up and I want to put a Bible in my hand. That’s how I want my picture taken. I’ll tell you when I want my picture taken, when I’m feeling good.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

I came to 100th Street with a large format camera on a tripod. I wanted depth and detail and I wanted to meet the people eye to eye. I wanted the photograph to happen without intruding. The children called me the “picture man.” They said take my picture. I took their picture. I took photographs of them, they took my photographs. Can I have another picture? I gave them another picture. Can you make a couple of more prints? I gave them a couple of more prints. They received their pictures and I received mine. I saw my pictures hanging all over the place. Sometimes when I photographed a family of a person again, I had to take down my own pictures.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

The problem is that, you’ve got to stay around for a while; you’ve got to earn your dues. Poverty is kind of sexy, poverty is photographic, it’s what photographers look for. In the case of East 100th street, I had an entrée, the picture librarian at magnum photos, Sam Holmes, had a cousin who was a white minister living and raising his children in Spanish Harlem, so I was introduced to him. But he said he couldn’t give me permission to take pictures here, you have to appear in front of the citizens committee and they will either say yes or no. So I did, I presented myself and they said, “we have photographers coming through here all the time because we’re poor, and that’s very photogenic to them but they come and they go and we never see the pictures and we never see anything change.” I said I work a little differently, I work eye-to-eye, I have a large-format camera where I need quiet and things to settle down and I need to be there because I have this heavy camera and a tripod and a strobe, and I will give prints to people. They said they would try me out and I said, if you can find a family of ten, I’ll photograph them as an example of my work, and I did. It took three weeks because I’d arrive on a Sunday but there would only be eight. I had to come a couple of times before they really got all their family together. So that was really the beginning where I was really in the picture myself, with the cable release on the camera and the eye to eye relationship, and I would bring back prints and give the prints to the people. That took two years; it sustained me for two years. And that’s basically how I work; I just keep going back and back.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Then there’s the man who runs the luncheonette. He let me take his picture once, but I made it too dark and he never let me take his picture again. I know you’re prejudiced, he said, because you made it too dark. You make all the people here look too dark. When you make pictures look light, then I’ll put your pictures on the walls. But I know he likes me. He lets me use the bathroom in his luncheonette. He doesn’t let anyone do that.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Despite my fantasies of being a hunter stalking a wild animal, I was still afraid. It was hard for me to approach even a little old lady. There’s a barrier between people riding the subway – eyes are averted, a wall is set up. To break through this painful tension I had to act quickly on impulse, for if I hesitated, my subject might get off at the next station and be lost forever.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Quite a few kids on the block are interested in photography. I lent a boy who had been helping me a camera and my developing tank. I gave him some film and I’m teaching him things. The kids and the people who take photographs don’t photograph the slums. They photograph their friends. You know, this boy kissing that girl.. All sorts of things all sorts of possibilities, without sentimality. They photograph the life they know, not its horrors.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

I’m not trying to glorify the ghetto. In many ways, it’s a horrible place, full of scars and pain. It taught me how much I ‘d taken for granted. I’m not wealthy by any means, but by contrast I am. I have hot water. I don’t have ten children to support. My life, my work is full of possibilities. I can in some ways affect my destiny.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Arnold Newman once told me that to photograph someone, they have to feel equal to you. And that’s true. Sometimes, a magazine you’re on assignment for is so prestigious that it allows you to be at a level where you’re not just someone coming over to take pictures.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

In ’52, when I was in college at R.I.T. photography school, that’s when I first saw a Cartier-Bresson photograph. It was with one of the two girls in our class, Joan. I was courting her a little bit and we were sitting in a girl’s dorm and she had brought out “The Decisive Moment.” I laughed. She was pointing out the pictures that really moved her and said that Cartier-Bresson was her true love. So I went out and I bought a little Leica, a used Leica, and started to imitate his images in some way. What I did was photograph the Lighthouse Mission, which was all drunks. They gave them a sermon and a bologna sandwich and a cup of coffee. And when they left, they’d pull out the bottle again. But those pictures, were a little Cartier-Bressonish.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Each day I would appear on the block with my 4×5 view camera and a bag containing film holders, accessories, and a powerful strobe. The presence of a large format camera on a tripod, with its bellows and back focusing cloth, gave sense of dignity to the act of taking pictures. I didn’t want to be the unobserved observer. I wanted to be with my subjects face to face and for them to collaborate in making the picture. I wanted the images to have a depth, tonality, and level of detail that could convey the mood of lives poised in a moment of time. During the two years I photographed East 100th Street, NASA was sending probes into pouter space, to the moon and to Mars. Instead, I wanted to see into the inner space of the city and to focus sharply on people here on earth.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

There was a boy who helped me a lot. He carried my camera bag around. He knew who might want to attack me and steal my camera. He knew many of the people who let me into their homes to photograph them. I relied on him. He made me feel safe.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

We were living in Hartsdale and we took that train. At one point, it skims the South Bronx and you can see into — you get glimpses of life inside those rooms. That drew me to 100th Street.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

What if trying to do, what I would like to do is to keep my life in balance. I walk the streets with my handheld camera, interact with people, discover, question, know, understand- and then I come back into my darkroom and make impressions of what i experienced during the day.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

I didn’t play the art world at all. I didn’t even play the fashion world. I could have easily become an incredible fashion photographer. I threw it aside because I felt a calling. It seemed real to me. And I think I learned that from Cartier-Bresson. He didn’t do any perfume ads. There was also the Magnum climate. There were serious photographers there: Ernst Haas, Elliott Erwitt.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

My true love is silver gelatin. My history in photography, which spans over fifty years, it is all basically silver gelatin. In my imagination there’s nothing more beautiful than a beautifully printed 11×14 print on good paper. Now the paper quality is diminished but we find a way of making it almost as good as it could have been with a lot of silver.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson


Josef Koudelka | Italy

If I am dissatisfied, it’s simply because good photos are few and far between. A good photo is a miracle.

– Josef Koudelka

TRAPANI, SICILY, Italy—Holy Week, 1996 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

TRAPANI, SICILY, Italy—Holy Week, 1996 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos


PALERMO, SICILY, Italy—Easter religious celebrations, 1993 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

PALERMO, SICILY, Italy—Easter religious celebrations, 1993 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos


Leonard Cohen | On Conde Guitars
Leonard Cohen, photographer unknown

Leonard Cohen, photographer unknown

When I was packing in Los Angeles to come here, I had a sense of unease because I’ve always felt some ambiguity about an award for poetry. Poetry comes from a place that no one commands and no one conquers, so I feel somewhat like a charlatan to accept an award for an activity which I do not command. In other words, if I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.

I was compelled in the midst of that ordeal of packing to go and open my guitar. I have a Conde guitar, which was made in Spain in the great workshop at No. 7 Gravina Street. A beautiful instrument that I acquired over 40 years ago. I took it out of the case, I lifted it, and it seemed to be filled with helium. It was so light. I brought it to my face and I put my face close to the beautifully designed rosette, and I inhaled the fragrance of the living wood.

You know that wood never dies.

I inhaled the fragrance of cedar as fresh as the first day that I acquired the guitar. And a voice seemed to say to me, you are an old man and you have not said thank you, you have not brought your gratitude back to the soil from which this fragrance arose. And so I come here tonight, to thank the soil and the soul of this people that have given me so much.

– Leonard Cohen, speaking at the Príncipe of Asturias Awards Ceremony at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo, October 21, 2011.

Felipe Conde FC 28, Rosewood & Spruce Flamenco Negra

Felipe Conde FC 28, Rosewood & Spruce Flamenco Negra

To hear his entire speech:

To learn more about the Conde family of luthiers:


Arthur C. Clarke | The HAL – IBM Myth

And I’ve been trying for years to stamp out the legend that the word, that the letters HAL was derived from IBM by one letter displacement. And of course HAL actually stands for Heuristic Algorithmic, H. A. L. But that’s a myth that I can’t quite stamp out. I think that IBM are quite proud of it so I’ve given up the attempt.

– Arthur C. Clarke, the IBM story is “utter nonsense.”

Sir Arthur C. Clark, Chelsea Hotel, New York, 1973. Copyright @ Peter Angelo Simon.

Sir Arthur C. Clark, Chelsea Hotel, New York, 1973. Copyright @ Peter Angelo Simon.


Ridley Scott | Kubrick Footage in Blade Runner

I’ve got a very nice story about Stanley. I’d finished Blade Runner and it was a disaster. And my investors who were giving me a really hard time, said…’You can’t end the film with this picking up this piece of origami, looking at the girl, walking in the elevator, and nodding, that’s called a film noir.’

I said, ‘What’s a film noir.’…

‘We have to test this with an uplifting ending where they will go off into the wilderness together.’

I said, ‘Well if they can go off into the beautiful wilderness, why are they living in this dystopian environment?’
‘Allright, I’ll do it.’

So by then, I had talked to Stanley a few times. I called him up and said listen, ‘I know you shot the hell out of wherever it was in The Shining, and I know you’ve got four and a half months of helicopter stuff…[inaudible]. Can I have some of the stuff because it will suit me fine.’

The next day I had seventeen hours of helicopter footage, it was stunning. So the end of the film in Blade Runner, that’s Stanley Kubrick’s footage…

But he said,’You got a vehicle, what is it?’

‘It’s long.’

‘Oh shit, every shot I have has a Volkswagen in it.’ Then he went, ‘Oh, what did you shoot?’

I said, ‘Anamorphic’

“Ah jolly good, when you project mine, it’ll look oblong. You’ll be fine.’

Then a day later he called me.

‘It’s Stanley. One other thing. I know you’re going through my footage right now. If there’s anything I used, you can’t have it. Got it?’

I went, ‘Okay cool.’

That was it. That was Kubrick.

– Ridley Scott

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner


Louis CK | Leica Shooting, USO Tour
Shot by Louis CK on his Leica MP

Shot by Louis CK on his Leica MP

The gunners reached out into the open air and leveled their guns with a great slot and click sound. They trained them on the ground. I felt my hands tense up. I realized, for the first time, that both my hands were wrapped tightly around my Leica. Oh my god, my Leica! I have the greatest camera in the world in my fucking hands and I’m in the middle of this shit right here.

In that moment, ALL FEAR was gone. I was right where I wanted to be in the whole world. I reached into my pocket, which was difficult with the armor, and took out my light meter. I got readings out the window, inside, the floor under my feet. I did quick averages of the readings in my head. Now all my thoughts were of film. “Okay I’m at about 5.6 outside if I’m at 250 which is a good speed from a moving helicopter. If I want to get stuff outside, I’ll squeeze the fstop down to about 8. If I want inside the bird I’ll open to 2.8, 4 if I want a bit of both.” I set all these functions on the camera and started firing away. The helicopter leaned forward and we tore off across Baghdad.

– Louis CK