Category: Quotes
Ferdinando Scianna | Coney Island
NEW YORK CITY—Coney Island, 1985. © Ferdinando Scianna / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—Coney Island, 1985. © Ferdinando Scianna / Magnum Photos

A photograph is not created by a photographer. What [he/she does] is just open a little window and capture it. The world then writes itself on the film. The act of the photographer is closer to reading than it is to writing. They are the readers of the world.

– Ferdinando Scianna


Vernon Wells | Road Warrior
Vernon Wells in George Miller's Road Warrior, 1981

Vernon Wells in George Miller’s Road Warrior, 1981

I was doing a play in Melbourne and George Miller’s girlfriend was at one of the showing. She suggested to George that I would be perfect for the role of Wez. I had no idea what the “Road Warrior” was about so George came down for a meeting and after about an hour of telling dirty jokes we both went on our way. A month later I get a call saying I got the part. I still had no idea what the film or the role was even about. It wasn’t until I had to go to Sydney for my costume fittings did I start to figure it out. Originally I had thought that I couldn’t do the role and was in my own way trying to get out of the role. Once I got the whole costume on George stood me in front of the mirror and I was scared shitless. After George doing that I figured I could probably do the role.

– Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells in George Miller's Road Warrior, 1981

Vernon Wells in George Miller’s Road Warrior, 1981

Originally there had been a scene that explained I had raised the the boy on the back of my motorcycle, which would explain why I go mad when he is killed by the Feral Kid. However, in editing they felt the character played better without it, which would make everyone assume we were lovers. I respect what it did for my character, and because of Hosana, it wasn’t an issue for me if my character was gay, even if in my real life I am not.

– Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells in George Miller's Road Warrior, 1981

Vernon Wells in George Miller’s Road Warrior, 1981

Probably the most insane thing I did was when I was on the back of the snake truck, with one foot on it and one foot on the tanker, crossing to climb onto the tanker, and the snake truck veered away from the tanker to avoid hitting it and I nearly became a wishbone! But alls well that ends well.

– Vernon Wells


Ian Berry | Whitby, England
Whitby, England © 1974 Ian Berry / Magnum Photos

Whitby, England © 1974 Ian Berry / Magnum Photos

The point of 35 mm photography for me is to remain unobserved, working with the available light, watching, waiting and looking, discovering pictures while a scene is in motion.

-Ian Berry


R. Lee Ermey | Stanley Kubrick
R. Lee Ermey in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, 1987

R. Lee Ermey in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, 1987

Stanley told me he didn’t understand actors. He had no actor friends — they were basically working associates, and he thought they were a little bit strange, totally spoiled and in most cases had to be begged to give him a decent performance. Half the time the actor would argue with him. Vince D’Onofrio didn’t like Stanley’s “craziness look.” He wanted to try it some other way. The problem with Vince was this was his first film, and he’s telling Stanley Kubrick how he thinks this look should be. They stand there arguing. Stanley finally said, “Look, do it my way and we’ll load back up and we’ll shoot it your way.” Well, when they shot it Vince’s way they didn’t have any film in the camera

– R. Lee Ermey

Vincent D'Onofrio in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, 1987

Vincent D’Onofrio in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, 1987


Daniel Clowes | The Kinks
The Kinks, 1972 © Barrie Wentzell

The Kinks, 1972 © Barrie Wentzell

I didn’t really listen to the Kinks growing up at all — I was just vaguely aware of them, like everybody else — so when I was in my mid-20s I bought a couple of their records, just on a whim, and got sort of obsessed with them. There was something that they did in their work, or that Ray Davies did in his songwriting, that I wanted to apply to my comics, which was to have this pop exterior to his work — the surface seemed like they were sort of simple pop songs, like you could hear on AM radio — and yet underneath that was a very profound, idiosyncratic vision. I liked the juxtaposition: where he was sort of this dandyish pop star on one level and yet this seemingly very lonely, troubled man on the inside. That was just something I was drawn to, and he came closer to doing that than any cartoonist I can really think of.

– Daniel Clowes

The Death-Ray @ Daniel Clowes

The Death-Ray @ Daniel Clowes


Arnold Newman | W. Eugene Smith
W. Eugene Smith, 1977 © Arnold Newman

W. Eugene Smith, 1977 © Arnold Newman

The man who put it so beautifully was Eugene Smith who is a very dear friend of mine, probably the greatest photojournalist that ever lived. Cartier-Bresson is not a photojournalist. He takes individual images if you really look at them. When he came back from Japan, and he had a crowd of younger photographers around him at the ICP where they discussing his Minamata story, he began to realize as a lot of us did in that room, that they were thinking that if they only had access to a subject like Minamata, they too could become great photojournalists.

He realized this and what he said was, wait a minute. First, you have to be a good artist before you can be a good photojournalist.

And that is the essence of our art.

– Arnold Newman


Arnold Newman | Portraits
Roy Lichtenstein, 1976 © Arnold Newman

Roy Lichtenstein, 1976 © Arnold Newman

If it’s a good photograph and says something about the person, than I think it’s a good portrait.

– Arnold Newman

Piet Mondrian, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Piet Mondrian, 1942 © Arnold Newman

I wasn’t mimicking it (Mondrian’s style), I was echoing it. I did it deliberately and when he saw the results, he loved it. He gave me the original drawings of Broadway Boogie-Woogie. It was the only thing he could give me. I was stunned at the time.

The thing is I was trying to say with my photographs what Mondrian meant to me. That I would copy his work or anybody else’s in order to do it to me would be horrifying because I would be copying and not creating. A lot of people do that. The man by the way is stiff, linear and very formal, just like his own work.

– Arnold Newman

Truman Capote, 1977 © Arnold Newman

Truman Capote, 1977 © Arnold Newman

Ayn Rand, 1964 © Arnold Newman

Ayn Rand, 1964 © Arnold Newman

Ava Gardner, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Ava Gardner, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Movie stars, actors…all they have is themselves. They have no other ability but to go on and portray somebody else. They don’t know how to be themselves. And it becomes a very difficult thing. Very rarely a great artist, not rarely, but only a few of them can say I don’t really care, I have warts, photograph me with the warts.

– Arnold Newman

Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe, 1962 © Arnold Newman

Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe, 1962 © Arnold Newman

I was acquainted with Carl at that time. He was working on the west coast, working on the words of Jesus in the Greatest Story Ever Told. He said come on out, let’s start work. I stayed with a friend of mine, a producer on a film, Something’s Got To Give. And that was of course the film that Marilyn didn’t finish.

I never saw the glamorous creature. Oh, I saw flashes of her in public and all that. But in the privacy of the home and wherever we were at, and later at my home, I saw nothing but a sad, sick girl.

– Arnold Newman

Leonard Bernstein, 1968 © Arnold Newman

Leonard Bernstein, 1968 © Arnold Newman

Max Ernst, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Max Ernst, 1942 © Arnold Newman

You wait for things to happen. Let’s say, I think I would like to photograph you over here, how about you standing behind the desk for a moment for me, and they’ll do that. Now, let’s face it, if you’ve got a very irritable subject or a man who is pretty rough and tough, President Johnson specifically, why don’t you just stand there for a few minutes, you just can’t do that. As a matter of fact, he gave me fifteen minutes, of course I took forty five. The idea was was that I was loosening him up, to get him used to the idea of photographing. I had to take a risk, my first risk shots, my insurance pictures at the beginning. They were not bad, but they were stiff and he was uptight, looking at his watch mentally.

Later, I got him to relax, we were kidding, he leaned sort of like this as he was waiting for me to get my camera ready again, which before he was very upset that I wasn’t ready. I was doing this on purpose. Finally, when he was like this, I said, don’t move.

– Arnold Newman

Alfred Krupp, 1963 © Arnold Newman

Alfred Krupp, 1963 © Arnold Newman

The worst people in the world, the real villains of today very often as Hitchcock said, hide in broad daylight, you just don’t recognize them. That’s the way Krupp was. He looked like a nice distinguished gentlemanly human being and he looked at my pictures and said, “Mr. Newman, I love your photographs so I think maybe we should take photographs.”

I worked this out where I got the lights to come under him, the usual thing. The result was that when I got him there, it was working but not really working. I had built a little platform of about two meters high, long enough to accommodate the both of us, him straddling a chair. I didn’t want to over do it. The lights were working beautifully but it just didn’t give me what I wanted. I went to Herr Bolen, that was his family name, “would you lean forward” and he leaned this way and my hair stood on end. There was the devil.

And they declared me persona non grata in Germany.

– Arnold Newman

Arthur Miller, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Arthur Miller, 1947 © Arnold Newman

John F. Kennedy © Arnold Newman

John F. Kennedy © Arnold Newman

Portraiture is a term that has taken on all these barnacles, all these terrible things that have happened to portraiture, on canvas, on stone, on metal, and then in photography. It’s something that is done to please the subject. A photographer is nothing more than a whore who does nothing but sit there thinking, will it please the subject, will i be able to sell him this picture, or will I be able to please him so he will buy it.

And the result is that little by little, people have begun to look down at portraiture, forgetting that the greatest artists in the world from Rembrandt, to Holbein, on up to Stieglitz and Strand, what have you, have all done portraiture and loved it. I happen to particularly love photographing people.

– Arnold Newman

Bill Clinton © Arnold Newman

Bill Clinton © Arnold Newman

Ansel Adams, 1975 © Arnold Newman

Ansel Adams, 1975 © Arnold Newman

Man Ray, 1948 © Arnold Newman

Man Ray, 1948 © Arnold Newman

Well, I didn’t mean to make a series of photographs on artists. My intent was explicitly to experiment with portraiture. And I hate the word portraiture. I prefer to call it photographs of people.

When I came to New York, you have to understand, in 1938, things were still bad from the depression and there wasn’t much money. I was unknown. I had this desire to make photographs of people but I didn’t know anyone. The ones that I wanted to meet, the ones that seemed to me, gave me the greatest opportunity…the artists were absolutely perfect.

– Arnold Newman

Salvador Dali, 1951 © Arnold Newman

Salvador Dali, 1951 © Arnold Newman

Henri Cartier-Bresson, NYC, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Henri Cartier-Bresson, NYC, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Cartier-Bresson is not a photojournalist. He takes individual images if you really look at them.

– Arnold Newman

Marc Chagall, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Marc Chagall, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Course Stieglitz was a man who I greatly admired and I had no idea that I was going to meet him. I do remember the fact that kept using words like inventive but the word that he kept using was honesty. He kept urging me then and later to be honest.

– Arnold Newman

Jean Dubuffet, 1956 © Arnold Newman

Jean Dubuffet, 1956 © Arnold Newman

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Great photographs are not made with a camera. They are made by a human being with a mind. And he uses a tool. If that tool cannot make a great work of art, then he discards the tool. As long as the tools are available to us to make something that satisfies us, we’ll use it, no matter how imperfect it is.

– Arnold Newman

I.M. Pei, 1967 © Arnold Newman

I.M. Pei, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Claes Oldenburg, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Claes Oldenburg, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Igor Stravinsky, 1946 © Arnold Newman

Igor Stravinsky, 1946 © Arnold Newman

It all came to head in just a moment. I had been going to concerts and looking at various instruments. I had already photographed musical instruments in part and in whole and that sort of thing. Suddenly I realized that I had been admiring the shape of the piano and suddenly it hit me The piano shape – strong, hard, sharp, linear, beautiful in this strong harsh way was really the echo of Stravinsky’s work, his own music. When I thought about that, reflected on that, I thought where can I get a piano?

We found an editor who had a piano with a very simple wall, very simple background. I was able to manipulate the light on the background by simply taking one 1,000 watt light and moving it around until I got the exact light I wanted.

– Arnold Newman

Marcel Duchamp, 1966 © Arnold Newman

Marcel Duchamp, 1966 © Arnold Newman

Jean Arp, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Jean Arp, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Isamu Noguchi, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Isamu Noguchi, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Pablo Picasso, 1954 © Arnold Newman

Pablo Picasso, 1954 © Arnold Newman

[For the Picasso image] I used a small portion of a 4×5 negative which was part of a series that I did. I love the whole photograph, I still think that that is a successful photograph. What I realized in examining the photograph, the most exciting thing was face and his eyes so I decided to blow up that little section and make that the full image. And I blew it up and it was so successful, the old story, less is more. The impact of that closely cropped head with those fantastic eyes increased the value of the picture instead of decreasing it and it probably became one of my best known photographs.

– Arnold Newman

Louise Nevelson, 1972 © Arnold Newman

Louise Nevelson, 1972 © Arnold Newman


Kurosawa | Rashomon

In Rashomon, especially the wonderful camera moves in the second part as the woman tells her story and is sitting there and the camera is dwelling on her and goes back around her and the man, her husband, is continuously in a steady shot, and she’s always moving like this and like that with the knife. It’s so magnificent, some of the camera moves are so precise and so psychological, you know?

He’s emphasizing the character of the woman in such a magnificent way, slowly building up that she might have killed him. Which we don’t know, of course.

I mean it’s superb filmmaking and there’s nearly no example in the whole film industry where you can point out something so splendid.

– Paul Verhoeven

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)


Roxanne Lowit | The Original Party Photographer

I started out as a textile designer at FIT. I was given a 110 Instamatic camera to make reference photographs of my friends that I wanted to paint. I liked the instant gratification of the photographic process, so I traded in my paintbrushes for a camera and started exploring this new creative medium. The Editor in Chief of the Soho News Annie Flanders saw my pictures and asked me to go to Paris to cover the fashion shows for her with one stipulation: I had to get a real camera. I bought a camera and read the instructions on how to load film into the camera on the flight to Paris. The energy of shooting backstage was intoxicating. On that same trip I found myself atop the Eiffel Tour with Yves Saint Laurent and Andy Warhol for the after party for Yves show. From that moment on, I knew this was what I was meant to do. I returned to New York, quit my job, and decided I was now a photographer.

– Roxanne Lowit

Christy, Linda, Naomi © Roxanne Lowit

Christy, Linda, Naomi © Roxanne Lowit

Salvador Dali, Janet Daly and the stranger, New Years Eve © Roxanne Lowit

Salvador Dali, Janet Daly and the stranger, New Years Eve © Roxanne Lowit

Backstage Dior © Roxanne Lowit

Backstage Dior © Roxanne Lowit

 

Photography is my passion, my métier, and my muse. I love what I do and do what I love. That is the key to happiness.

– Roxanne Lowit

Lenny Kravitz & Iggy Pop © Roxanne Lowit

Lenny Kravitz & Iggy Pop © Roxanne Lowit

Keith Haring © Roxanne Lowit

Keith Haring © Roxanne Lowit

Linda, Naomi & Christy, 1989 ©  Roxanne Lowit

Linda, Naomi & Christy, 1989 © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso and Xavier de Castella at Le Privilege, Paris, 1983 © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso and Xavier de Castella at Le Privilege, Paris, 1983 © Roxanne Lowit

Divine and John Waters at Interferon, 1981 © Roxanne Lowit

Divine and John Waters at Interferon, 1981 © Roxanne Lowit

Lou Reed in New York, circa 1980 © Roxanne Lowit

Lou Reed in New York, circa 1980 © Roxanne Lowit

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in New York, 1982 © Roxanne Lowit

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in New York, 1982 © Roxanne Lowit

Steven Meisel in New York, 1989 © Roxanne Lowit

Steven Meisel in New York, 1989 © Roxanne Lowit


Yan Morvan | Bikers

I think the very first photo I took was in 1967 at the Monaco Grand Prix. I was 13 and photographed race cars with my dad. That was the year that Lorenzo Bandini crashed and burned, and I took photos of it with my Kodak camera.

– Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan

Bikers, 1978 © Yan Morvan