My Most Favourite Quotes on Photography for Inspiration

While there is no dearth of quotes on photography, for this post, I have thoughtfully curated some of my most favourite and inspirational quotes on photography that you may be able to relate to and get some inspiration from.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

― Ansel Adams

“We sometimes take photos (or record a video) so that we can later see what was happening while we were busy taking photos (or recording a video).”

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
© Ansel Adams

“Photographers tend not to photograph what they can’t see, which is the very reason one should try to attempt it. Otherwise we’re going to go on forever just photographing more faces and more rooms and more places. Photography has to transcend description. It has to go beyond description to bring insight into the subject, or reveal the subject, not as it looks, but how does it feel?”

― Duane Michals

We always photograph what we see. Have you ever challenged yourself to photograph something you do not see? Something that is unobvious yet present, small yet beautiful, unsaid yet pronounced, which often skips our attention. Photography has to indeed transcend description and capture the soul of the moment, evoking feelings and creating vibes. Every time I read this, I get an overwhelming feeling of how much I need to work hard and grow as a photographer to actually call myself a visual artist in the true sense. It reminds me every time that I am not here to simply document, replicate and present a glorified version of what we see, but what we feel inside and let that feeling transcend visual narrative. If a photograph can stir feelings that one cannot possibly frame in words, it does mean a true work of art.

© Duane Michals

If you think there is nothing interesting to shoot, it is you that is not interested.

 Jon Luvelli

How simple a statement, but completely true to the core. We miss capturing many such moments and underrated pleasures of life, questioning what is interesting in it to shoot. It is indeed us who is not able to see the hidden beauty, find a different perspective and push ourselves to our limit. Many of such moments have a soul and a timestamp. We just need to train our eyes to see the unobvious and be passionate enough to find that beauty. This quote always inspires me to push myself harder than I would have. As Bhavik Sarkhedi rightly quoted once, “A good photographer takes a good photo of a good view. A creative photographer takes the best photo of a ‘Not so good’ view.” If I can put it differently, a creative photographer should be able to see an ocean of opportunity, where the world sees nothing.

© John Luvelli

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.”

― Susan Meiselas

Indeed. For me, the camera is just an excuse to explore the unseen, meet the unmet, experience and feel what I have not before, be where I have not belonged ever. You suddenly feel the connection and at the very moment a separation too, creating a dualism, leaving lifetime moments to preserve forever.

Image © Susan Meiselas

As Annie Leibovitz beautifully puts it, giving an account of her own life:

“As a young person, and I know it’s hard to believe that I was shy, but you could take your camera, and it would take you to places: it was like having a friend, like having someone to go out with and look at the world. I would do things with a camera I wouldn’t do normally if I was just by myself.”

― Annie Leibovitz

I can relate to this quote so much, remembering all my solo trips where my camera was my one and only best friend taking me to places, introducing me to strangers, offering me local delicacies to try and above all helping me find myself in unfound places. Steve McCurry also once remarked – “My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” 

©  Annie Leibovitz

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.

― Ansel Adams

We often tend to focus so much on equipment, photography techniques, editing tools and thus the present and future of a photograph, that we forget that a photograph is culmination of your past, i.e., all your readings, all the music you have ever heard, all the movies you have ever watched and your life experiences. Your photograph is a reflection of your personality, unfulfilled desires, dreams and everything that makes you what you are today. It is inseparable. So, keep feeding your mind with good literature, interesting movies, work of art by legends. The more and better you feed, the greater would be the output.

© Ansel Adams

Hope you found these quotes relatable and inspirational! Tell us, what is your favourite inspirational quote for photography in the Comments section below.

Cover Image © Ansel Adams


Published by Vivek Kumar Verma

Investment Banking Lawyer | Photographer & Blogger | Connoisseur of Food | Poet

3 thoughts on “My Most Favourite Quotes on Photography for Inspiration

  1. Just loved reading it….. my camera is my passport to the world I see yet don’t see…. Haven’t been taking pics for a long while now and reading this post has brought a happy content smile within….and there is a desire slowly peeping from deep down to take my small camera in hand again!

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