A quote can be a very powerful thing. Some of the most inspiring words have come from quotes made by high profile and influential people, who in a few words sum up their work, their life, ambitions or philosophy on life. Photography has been blessed with some remarkable and very talented individuals who have perfected their craft in their own field. And just like great leaders or activists, who have dedicated their life to a cause, these photographers have left some profound words in a quote that summarise their life, works and what they have spent their entire career they to achieve. Their quotes can often be thought provoking and to many, can give the inspiration they desire to capture the images they seek from their photography.
Here are three of those famous quotes, complete with a breakdown of what they mean and how these great words can perhaps inspire your photography too:
“A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart”. – Arnold Newman (American Environmental Portrait Photographer)
Having the latest camera model and all the lenses available for that camera, is a desirable option, but if you can’t take a great picture with a basic camera and single lens, then no amount of kit is going to help you improve. Photography is a very emotive thing and as a much as you see a subject with your eye, you should also see and ‘feel’ it with your heart. Your results are hopefully going to evoke emotion; happy or sad, elation or contemplation, in the viewer when they see the final result from you. If that emotion isn’t felt when you take the image, then there’ll be nothing for the viewer to take from it either.
With a head-full of ideas and a heart full of emotion, your images will be evocative and creative, even with the most simple and basic camera set-up.
“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography”. – George Eastman (founder of the Eastman Kodak company)
It’s been said many times, that light is the key to any photograph and this is a rule that should be forever stamped in your memory. Without light, there are no photographs to be made. Whether it’s the first light of day, the last rays of a setting sun or the harsher light of midday, learning how light affects and changes a subject, is the key to great images. As Eastman says, you should study light, even when you don’t have a camera with you. See how it changes throughout the day. Watch how shadows form and change shape and what they do to the subject. See how the soft, warm light at the beginning and end of the day, makes subjects look their best, giving them a golden glow that isn’t possible at midday. Watch how an overcast day also softens the light, minimising shadows and instead lights subjects evenly. Midday adds a new dimension and although the least attractive, can suit the right subject too.
The quality of the light will determine the quality of your images, so get to know light as much as you know your camera.
“Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow”. – Imogen Cunningham (American botanical and nudes photographer)
Never rest on your laurels. You’re only as good as your last image. Your last image should inspire your next one. The experience of taking an image, ends when you press the shutter. Any result that this creates, should be evolved into the creativity of your next one. The more you enjoy taking pictures, the better your results will be. The more you push yourself creatively, so the images you desire to create, will emerge. At the same time, if your results leave you feeling deflated, don’t despair. Pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and turn this into good energy to make your next image the best yet. Tomorrow is another day and another day means another image in the pipeline. Make it count.