Photo-Wisdom

Duane Michals

“My advice to somebody starting out: do not try to be an artist. forget about art, don’t even use the word art in you vocabulary. What you have to find out is if you have anything to say – you have to find that bug up your bum. You have to find that thing that moves you that part of you psyche that needs to be scratched, like an itch. Then one day it might become that thing called art, but do not try to be an artist, and do not want to become rich and famous.

Find your passion. Find that thing inside yourself that needs to be said out loud. forget art, and forget art schools unless you are desperate, and focus on finding that thing”.

” I shot first and ask questions later. I love the impulse. My favorite moment is the moment of genesis, when the idea first comes.

I don’t have any intent to have particular effect on people or change anything. I don’t believe in that and have no ambition like that. But I do think it is important to say out loud something that you think is important, or find disturbing or amazing. I am happy to deal with all kinds of issues, but with not ambitions for them, no agenda; and I don’t believe you can plan like that. But there is a great luxury in being able to say something intimate out loud for yourself.”

Joel Meyerowitz

I can’t put a strict label on what kind of photographer I am – I think that narrows your parameters. I am generalist: when the world appears interesting to me through the images I have collected, then I realize it can be my divining rod.

I use the real world: whatever the light is, wherever I find myself, I make the picture. I don’t often say I will come back the next day for it. There is only now. The moment is now, I am here now, this is happening now, take it now. The sense of that moment, the magnitude of that, is the only thing I can respond to. I can’t think about the future when I am only in the respond to. I can’t think about the future when I am only in the now. Photography is about the consciousness of now for me.

The street is like a text. It is capable of being read by me in my own imperfect way. When I am out there, I am talking to myself there is such a noisy chatter in my, watching all the time. There is such a joy in being alive and reading what is going on. I am looking at all the stuff coming down the street and I am trying to read the possible connection between them and what might happen when they converge or dissipate.

The live potential the street has in terms of picture content is incredible, even though it is so open-ended. I am not really looking for something but looking at it, watching like waves on the shore as it throws more stuff up. It enriches the daily fife for me.

If you keep following every instinct – you want to get closer, or kneel down, or jump up two steps – then just do it. The results will describe to you who you are. the visceral and the intuitive side will combine to show you your intellect as a photographer.

Pictures work in many ways. They can reveal the mind-set of the person who has made them: they can tell you if someone is bored, they can tell you if someone is engaged, they can tell you if someone is sensual.

Astonish me! This is what I want from photography. It can be with the most ordinary thing and yet change my consciousness.

Mary Ellen Mark

If you do great pictures it is fine art, no matter what. The galleries manipulate things, the market. If you deliberately set out to be an artist, that is the wrong way to think as a photographer. The work should be great, and that is all that is important. If people want it, and want it to put on their walls, that’s great too.

Howard Schatz

The real reason I photograph is to surprise and delight myself.

“I believe any professional photographer can take a good picture, but to make something shockingly wonderful, awesome, is very difficult, an immense challenge. And tremendous amount of exploration and discovery is needed, and frequently it fails.

I want to learn everything, try everything. What will happen if we do this or change this around? We take careful notes. I could look up what I did six years ago and set it up again according to the notes. I am able to repeat and build on this things that way. Sometimes we can spend months exploring and it doesn’t pan out. Sometimes we climb up the creative tree, get out on a branch, and it cracks. But I say to myself and my assistants that the ground is soft. We get back up again, and then we might find one time a branch where there is a cherry every half-inch, and it is really fruitful.

The joy is in the journey. Every experience should be new, special, fun, whether in the studio, or underwater, or on location.

In some way, I remember every shot. They are all meaningful. Repetition is the best stimulator of
memory. I take it, edit it, work on it post-production, print it, put it on the website, eventually you retain a great deal about it.

I hope to live a long time so that I can continue to have the phenomenal satisfaction of surprising and delighting myself. I hope I can continue to explore, continue on this journey.”

Graham Nash

“I am not interested in making images that match the couch. I am thrilled when I know that I captured something that can teach me about myself and the other people in my life.

I have always believed that opportunity doesn’t knock, it screams. In 1989 , I decided that the images I owned had taught me what I needed, and that it was time to let go. At that moment I realized that the making of photographic images was about to change radically…

Open up your eyes and your heart. I absolutely believe, every day, that something wonderful will reveal itself to me. I hope I am ready.”

Fulvio Bonanvia

“A successful image needs to have a soul and give emotion way you look at it. I can be happy with an image because I like the subject, the light, the composition, and so on. But what I am really looking for is an image with the emotional capability, and this is something that happens only a few times.”

Ernesto Bazan

“We need to go beyond our normal eyes learn to use the internal eye, see things with the heart and the soul. In that way, you get more in touch with the feelings that people are sharing and by doing so the pictures become more personal and more spiritual. It is very difficult. I tell my students that if by the end of a workshop they have one or two images like that, then they should consider themselves totally satisfied.”

Chuck Close

“The thing that interests me about photography and why it’s different from all other media, is that it’s the only medium in which there is even the possibility of an accidental masterpiece. You cannot make an accidental masterpiece if you’re a painter or a sculptor. It’s just not going to happen. Something will be wrong.”

“It always amazes me that just when I think that there’s nothing left to do in photography and that all permutations and possibilities have been exhausted, someone comes along and puts the medium to a new use, and makes it his or her own, you nks it out of this kind of amateur statues, and makes it as profound and moving and as formerly interesting as any other medium. It’s like pushing something heavy uphill. Photography’s not an easy medium. It is . finally perhaps the hardest of them all.”

Arno Rafatil Minkkinen

“When I discovered that camera could work better without me being behind it, that’s where my work really started. It something I tell the students of photography that I teach. I tell them:”Are you pressing the button because you have seen something that you have seen before, or are you taking a risk to make something you haven’t seen!”. That desire for uniqueness in the process – I was fortunate to discover it when I did. And then I did not do anything else.”

“If you can learn how to write your name, express yourself in the way you are, then you have a chance. My own personal journey, is to seek what is truly hones, a truly honest expression of myself. If other influences eep in, I try to reject them.

Adrew Zuckerman

“I can see other photographers who have made pictures like mine, who came before me and others will come after me, but I think if you are honest to what you are nobody can really make work like this other than you. I am happy to tell exactly how to made my pictures – I’ll tell you about all the equipment and you could maybe hire my assistant to help you try it, but you are not going to arrive at the same place: you’ll arrive at another place wearing the same clothes that my pictures wear.”