Grow as a Photographer

Five Quotes to Help You Grow as a Photographer

During the history of photography, many great artists found fame and recognition as photographers. Their photographs were impressive, disturbing, or stunningly beautiful. They’ve changed the way we understand beauty standards, documented wars, illustrated the news, and exhibited human civilization and natural wonders. Their legacy consists not only from iconic images but also from life lessons for younger photographers. Here are five quotes that will change the way you see the world and the way you understand photography and help you grow as a photographer.

Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

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

Taking a lot of pictures is good practice and helps you learn faster. But sometimes you need to leave the camera and embrace the world with your heart only. There are moments for living and moments for taking pictures. Until you understand the silence you can’t convey the moment. Ansel Adams was a pioneer of landscape photography and an environmentalist.

Don McCullin (b. 1935)

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” — Don McCullin

A good photographer does more than good pictures. A photographer sees the moment and understands the facts. You need to deeply engage with your subjects, whether it’s a landscape, a person, or a situation. Don McCullin is a photojournalist who documented wars and conflicts all around the world. Through his pictures, we have access to the most disturbing images of the Vietnam War, the Northern Ireland conflict, and many others.

Irving Penn (1917 – 2009)

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.” — Irving Penn

There are no secrets in photography. There are only ways to see the world and frame it for others to see it. Photography has to be effective not only aesthetic is the advice of a famous fashion photographer. Simple and almost austere, Irving Penn’s black and white pictures changed style and fashion. He used unusual angles, deep contrast, and graphic approaches.

Richard Avedon (1923 – 2004)

“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” — Richard Avedon

As a photographer, you need to understand you have a responsibility towards the public. Expose the truth as much as possible and don’t use image manipulation techniques to increase the values of your photos. The camera catches a moment and you can easily take it out of context and deliver a wrong message. Richard Avedon was a fashion and portrait photographer. His pictures documented American society, lifestyle, and culture for over 50 years.

Annie Leibovitz (b. 1949)

“When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.” — Annie Leibovitz

Doing a portrait means creating a connection with the person in front of you. Take your time to get to know your subject. You are there to tell a story and there is one behind every facial feature, gesture, and smile. Annie Leibovitz is famous for her portraits of celebrities. She manages to enter into their intimate personality and captures the essence of her characters.

Cover photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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