Category: Quotes
John Loengard | Portraits

In a painting no one complains that the subject is posed, but everybody complains about what looks posed in a photograph. Except, I’ve found that if I go very close in to the face, then the posed expression no longer exists. The face becomes a landscape of the lakes of the eyes and the hills of the nose and the valley of the cleft of the chin.

– John Loengard

Brassai, 1981 © John Loengard

Brassai, 1981 © John Loengard

I was photographing the photographer Brassaï. He had very prominent eyes, like a frog’s. As I focused my lens, he brought his hand up and pretended to focus his eye. It was a joke, but it added mystery to the picture. There’s a sense of action in a very small world. Or with Allen Ginsberg there were people smoking cigarettes and in the smoke there’s a sense of motion. It makes much out of very little.

– John Loengard

Allen Ginsberg, 1966 © John Loengard

Allen Ginsberg, 1966 © John Loengard

When I go to photograph somebody, they say, “What do you want me to do?” Those are the most frightening words in the English language. I want to say, “Please, go over into good light and do something unusual.”

– John Loengard


Martine Franck | Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson © MartineFranck, Magnum Photos

Henri Cartier-Bresson © MartineFranck, Magnum Photos

A photograph isn’t necessarily a lie, but nor is it the truth. It’s more of a fleeting, subjective impression. What I most like about photography is the moment that you can’t anticipate: you have to be constantly watching for it, ready to welcome the unexpected.

– Martine Franck


Joel Meyerowitz | Black & White Work
Wyoming, 1964 © Joel Meyerowitz

Wyoming, 1964 © Joel Meyerowitz

The best way is to look at the ‘old guys’ like Brassaï and Atget. The street teaches you to act quickly when you see something. If you don’t, you miss it!

– Joel Meyerowitz

Malaga, Spain, 1967 © Joel Meyerowitz

Malaga, Spain, 1967 © Joel Meyerowitz

Time Square, 1965 © Joel Meyerowitz

Time Square, 1965 © Joel Meyerowitz

Pool in Southwest, 1971 © Joel Meyerowitz

Pool in Southwest, 1971 © Joel Meyerowitz

Central Park, 1965 © Joel Meyerowitz

Central Park, 1965 © Joel Meyerowitz

Speaking of his mentor, Robert Frank:

He was a real loner. Sometimes when I ran into him he would send me away.

– Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, Times Square, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, Times Square, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1962 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1962 © Joel Meyerowitz

Christmas at Kennedy Airport, 1968 © Joel Meyerowitz

Christmas at Kennedy Airport, 1968 © Joel Meyerowitz


Fred Herzog | CrossingPowell, 1984
CrossingPowell, 1984 © Fred Herzog

CrossingPowell, 1984 © Fred Herzog

Take street pictures because it hones your instincts for speed and for quick composition. But above all what you bring in your mind to the scene is what makes your picture. If you don’t read, if you don’t have discussions with enlightened friends, you do not get there. There is a saying about seeing: Only a few people can see but most people don’t even look. And that says a lot to me. You can only see if you have something in your mind to bring to the picture. The camera is just the least important adjunct to your ideas. Your observations are important because they’re you. The camera is just a gadget you can carry on in your hand or around your neck or on a tripod.

– Fred Herzog


John Ford | The Searchers
John Wayne in John Ford's The Searchers, 1956

John Wayne in John Ford’s The Searchers, 1956

This no happy ending though. There is no home, no family, waiting for Ethan. He is cursed, just as he cursed the dead Comanchee. He is a drifter, doomed to wander between the winds.

– Martin Scorsese


Joel Meyerowitz | Taking My Time

Joel Meyerowitz has had a retrospective published in 2012 by Phaidon in conjunction with a traveling exhibit of his work.

For more on his book, click here.

From Le Journal de la Photographie:

His 1962 encounter with Robert Frank encouraged him to walk through the streets of New York with a 35 mm camera and a color film. His first book “Cape Light“ is considered a classic of color photography and features some of his most famous pictures, in which he explores the variations of colors when in contact with light.

He shoots with both a 35 mm camera and a large format Deardorff 20×25. Few photographers are capable of working in these formats, the two being quite different languages. One is able to capture the decisive instant with a 35 mm camera; while the large format camera reveals the beauty of reality thanks to the long exposure.

New York City © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City © Joel Meyerowitz

Paris, 1976 © Joel Meyerowitz

Paris, 1976 © Joel Meyerowitz

Paris, 1976 © Joel Meyerowitz

Paris, 1976 © Joel Meyerowitz

 

 

A young man lies on the sidewalk with his arms outstretched. A workman with a hammer casually steps over his fallen body. A crowd stands at the entrance to the métro, stunned by curiosity into inaction. A cyclist and a pedestrian each turn over their shoulders to catch a last glimpse, while around them the traffic glides by. Which is the greater drama of life in the city: the fictitious clash between two figures that is implied, or the indifference of the one to the other that is actual? A photograph allows such contradictions to exist in everyday life; more than that, it encourages them. Photography is about being exquisitely present.

-Joel Meyerowitz

Roseville Cottages, Truro, Massachusetts, 1976 © Joel Meyerowitz

Roseville Cottages, Truro, Massachusetts, 1976 © Joel Meyerowitz

Smoke in rising sunlight, New York City, 2001 © Joel Meyerowitz

Smoke in rising sunlight, New York City, 2001 © Joel Meyerowitz

Young Girl, Cape Cod, 1979 © Joel Meyerowitz

Young Girl, Cape Cod, 1979 © Joel Meyerowitz

5th Avenue,1975 © Joel Meyerowitz

5th Avenue,1975 © Joel Meyerowitz

Florida, 1968 © Joel Meyerowitz

Florida, 1968 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz

Bulgaria, 1967 © Joel Meyerowitz

Bulgaria, 1967 © Joel Meyerowitz

Butte, Montana, 1964 © Joel Meyerowitz

Butte, Montana, 1964 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz

New York City, 1963 © Joel Meyerowitz


Bob Carlos Clarke | Faithful
Faithful © Bob Carlos Clarke

Faithful © Bob Carlos Clarke

I want my photographs to bear the highest amount of sexual charge as possible, those touching the most animal instincts.

– Bob Carlos Clarke

I remember seeing this image years ago in some book I had been flipping through, looking for stock photography for a project at work. I was just struck by the dress and the context of the graveyard. I was not even taking photographs back then so I never knew about Bob Carlos Clarke nor his work.

Have just read that he threw himself under a train a few years ago.

Here is his site.


Helmut Newton | Tomb of Talma, 1977
Tomb of Talma, 1977 © Helmut Newton

Tomb of Talma, 1977 © Helmut Newton

I had found out that I did not function well in the studio, that my imagination needed the reality of the outdoors. I also realized that only as a fashion photographer could I create my kind of universe and take up my camera in the chic place and in what the locals called la zone, which were working-class districts, constrution sites, and so on. To work for French Vogue at that time was wonderful: Who else would have published these nudes or the crazy and sexually charged fashion photographs which I would submit to the editor in chief?

– Helmut Newton


David Baiely | Michael Caine, 1965
Michael Caine, 1965 © David Baiely

Michael Caine, 1965 © David Baiely

It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.

– David Bailey