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Portraits 
  
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Exhibitions on this website

19th century photograph types
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Contemporary: Noble processes
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To coincide with the "Noble Processes, in a Digital Age: New Works in Hand-Crafted Rare Media" exhibition at the John Stevenson Gallery (N.Y., May 3 - June 24, 2006)
  
19th century photograph types
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Quotations

The wit and wisdom.

 
"...all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and (there is) no cause to value one above the other."
"A distinction must be made between eroticism and pornography; the media have blurred the disparity to an unforgivable degree. For those intelligent enough to recognize the difference, erotica will continue to hold a unique fascination. Social evils should not be confused with the pursuit of true beauty."
"A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees."
"A good photograph reminds me of the basbosa I used to eat in Egypt. Simple on the surface but within a bite there are the hidden skills of the ages - making me want to explore more deeply."
"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away."
"A madness, an extraordinary fanaticism took possession of all these new sun-worshippers."
"A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see."
"A photographer has to be a portable, upright copy machine. A passionate photographer is also an artist. She can photograph what she sees and put feeling and mood into it. She has done it so well that each person that views it will feel their own emotion from it, not just what she saw and felt. no one should walk away feeling nothing."
"A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts."
"All things must be considered. Harmonies must be present for the message to be fluent. It must come together symphonically. If there is too much noise, it is difficult to hear the melody."
"Always point your finger at the chest of the person with whom you are being photographed. You will appear dynamic. And no photo editor can crop you from the picture."
"Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed."
"Art is the expression of imagination, not the reproduction of reality."
"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph."
"Before I go out to take a picture of someone, I just stop at the city desk and say, ‘Do you want him gazing out toward the sunset or picking his nose?‘"
"Cameras and lens are but lowly individuals in the populace of photography - light is the shaman that rules them all."
"Do not flatter yourself that if you knew the Emulsion on your Neighbor's Paper you could achieve his Results."
"Do not think that copying the Idiosyncrasies of your Betters will enable you to Pass for a Genius."
"Each day as the earth revolves toward sunrise members of a select human species awaken to observe the world with three eyes instead of two. They are the press photographers of the world, men and women who write the visual biography of man on earth."
"Every man‘s work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself."
"For those Americans present at the dawn of photography, the opportunity to have their picture taken was regarded as a chance for immortality."
"Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child."
"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers."
"I hate a photographer explaining an image, it is either there or it isn‘t - the picture says it all."
"I have a theory that every time the shutter captures a frame, that image is recorded at a very low threshold in the brain of the photographer… as ‘photographic lint.‘ When the photographs of Monica Lewinsky, in her beret on the lawn of the White House emerged, I ‘knew‘ I had seen that face with the President. I had no idea when, or where … I hired a researcher, and she started to go through the piles of slides in the light room. After four days, and more than 5,000 slides, she found ‘one‘ image, from a fund—raising event in 1996. Gotcha!"
"I have no fear of photography as long as it cannot be used in heaven and in hell."
"I like to impart my work with a certain grace, some order and balance. If you don't prepare your canvas, the paint has nothing to adhere to."
"I like to watch the person viewing my photographs to see if their eyes twinkle or cloud with tears. Does the smile sneak out when they were not expecting it to. Then I know I have captured emotion that can be shared."
"I live on intuition and taking pictures is intuitive."
"I long to have such a memorial of every being dear to me in the world. It is not merely the likeness which is precious in such cases — but the association and the sense of nearness involved in the thing … the fact of the very shadow of the person lying there fixed forever! It is the very sanctification of portraits I think — and it is not at all monstrous in me to say, what my brothers cry out against so vehemently, that I would rather have such a memorial of one I dearly loved, than the noblest artist‘s work ever produced."
"I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may - light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful."
"I see the world very differently than most people; I‘m much more interested in surreal moments that disappear unless you have your camera there to take it. I never shoot pictures of landscapes or kittens with balls of wool. The surreal to me is much more of a turn on. Everyday, ordinary surrealism - the decisive moment."
"I trust pictures, but no pictures made in my world — because I know what goes on."
"I‘ve posed nude for a photographer in the manner of Rodin‘s Thinker, but I merely looked constipated."
"If I could do it, I'd do no writing at all here. It would be photographs; the rest would be fragments of cloth, bits of cotton, lumps of earth, records of speech, pieces of wood and iron, phials of odors, plates of food and excrement…”"
"If there is no mystery in a photograph, if its reality has no other design, then it is empty."
"If you scratch a great photograph, you find two things; a painting and a photograph."
"In the business of portrait photography, one must combine the artist and the craftsman."
"Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality and of realism."
"Kodak sells film, but they don‘t advertise film. They advertise memories."
"Light glorifies everything. It transforms and ennobles the most commonplace and ordinary subjects. The object is nothing; light is everything."
"Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation."
"Many ask me how I photograph children naturally. This is an open secret: you cannot photograph naturally, especially not children, if you seem a foreign body to them, if they do not know you and are not used to you, if they fear the instrument — the camera — in your hands. I enter the group, spend many hours with them, play with them, talk, tell tales, and become one of the group. They become used to me, have faith in me, and act in my presence with the utmost freedom."
"Many people ask me why I am always carrying my cameras, or ask me why I am taking pictures. I often ask them, "Why do you eat?""
"Most people try to include too much in the picture. If you are photographing a child playing on the lawn, photograph the child, not the trees, the house, and everything else in sight. Photography is really a simple statement and the clearer it is the better."
"Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure."
"My passport photo is one of the most remarkable photographs I have ever seen—- no retouching, no shadows, no flattery--just stark me."
"No good is ever done to society by the pictorial representation of its diseases."
"Objects in pictures should so be arranged as by their very position to tell their own story."
"On the day when art lovers and collectors understand that fine photographic prints are as scarce as pulls from Whistler‘s rarest plates and a source of as keen an artistic enjoyment, a few more collectors will be added to the ranks of those who guard these rare examples jealously."
"One has to give a part of themselves to the people they are photographing. It‘s not just a one way street. I learned that one has to break into a situation without fear, and with confidence, or the people will know it and the situation changes for the worse. I got into places many photographers never did, because I smiled a lot, respected their culture and showed I meant no harm. I never had a problem. As William Albert Allard said, subjects can see right through you, so don‘t try to BS."
"One of the joys of photography is that you never know what will come at you from around the next corner."
"Perhaps only the blind can see the line between art and reality."
"Perishability in a photograph is important in a picture. If a photograph looks perishable we say, ‘Gee, I‘m glad I have that moment.‘"
"Photograph is a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. It is a little better than the work of an Apache, but not quite so good as that of a Cheyenne."
"Photographers are recorder keepers for God."
"Photographers may be concerned, conceptual, confrontational, candid, casual, constructing, but what is important is that they have a point of view."
"Photographs are of course about their makers, and are to be read for what they disclose in that regard no less than for what they reveal of the world as their makers comprehend, invent, and describe it."
"Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize as modern. Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood."
"Photographs can be used to lie, flatter, seduce, blackmail, or restrict human freedom. As mass—produced junk images they can debase taste and narcotize people to prefer the image to the experienced reality it represents. But photographs also can preserve, comfort, inform, and clarify. They can provide esthetic pleasure of the highest order and enlarge our vision of the universe."
"Photography by nature is spiritual considering, it comes from the darkness to show the light."
"Photography has become an outstanding and indispensable means of propaganda in the revolutionary struggle."
"Photography is a noble invention, say what they will of it. Anyone who has worked, blundered and stammered as I have done four days, and then sees the thing he has been trying to do so long in vain, done perfectly and faultlessly in half a minute, won‘t abuse it afterwards."
"Photography is a system of visual editing. At bottom, it is a matter of surrounding with a frame a portion of one‘s cone of vision, while standing in the right place at the right time. Like chess, or writing, it is a matter of choosing from among given possibilities, but in the case of photography the number of possibilities is not finite but infinite."
"Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing — which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power."
"Show me something that makes me weep, cry out in shared pain and anguish, take me to the precipice of desire and push me off. I want to be scared by your photographs rather than hang them on the wall."
"Since its invention photography has been the world's ubiquitous picture-making system. It has in the process effected a profound transformation of our knowledge and opinions concerning the structure and meaning of visual experience."
"Some art may be sublime; the same cannot be said of artists. Even if a few artists appear to produce transcendent work, no artist is free of the incubus his humanity sets upon him/her."
"The camera can photograph thought. It‘s better than a paragraph of sweet polemic."
"The camera can represent flesh so superbly that, if I dared, I would never photograph a figure without asking that figure to take its clothes off."
"The camera cannot lie, but it can be an accessory to untruth."
"The camera has an interest in turning history into spectacle, but none in reversing the process. At best, the picture leaves a vague blur in the observer‘s mind; strong enough to send him into battle perhaps, but not to have him understand why he is going."
"The camera is a killing chamber, which speeds up the time it claims to be conserving. Like coffins exhumed and priced open, the photographs put on show what we were and what we will be again."
"The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people‘s reality, and eventually in one‘s own."
"The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. Yet no other god has been so cynical, for the camera records in order to forget."
"The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. Yet no other god has been so cynical, for the camera records in order to forget."
"The charm, one might say the genius, of memory is that it is choosy, chancy and temperamental; it rejects the edifying cathedral and indelibly photographs the small boy outside, chewing a hunk of melon in the dust."
"The departure of our boys to foreign parts with the ever—present possibility that they might never return, taught the real value of photography to every father and mother. To many a mother the photograph of her boy in his country‘s uniform was the one never-failing consolation."
"The ear tends to be lazy, craves the familiar and is shocked by the unexpected; the eye, on the other hand, tends to be impatient, craves the novel and is bored by repetition."
"The eye, of course, is not enough. But the outer eye serves the inner eye, that‘s the point."
"The hardest thing about being a photographer is, you have to take pictures."
"The invention of photography provided a radically new picture—making process—a process based not on synthesis but on selection. The difference was a basic one. Paintings were made—constructed from a storehouse of traditional schemes and skills and attitudes—but photographs, as the man on the street put, were taken."
"The moment I feel like a plant, or like a bug alighting on a flower, I release the shutter. When I‘m not in this heightened state, I may shoot a beautiful flower beautifully, but that is all. For me, the process of photographing a flower is something more, something that goes beyond the flower. When I‘m photographing well, I am always floating on another plane – a place between this world and the world beyond."
"The painter constructs, the photographer discloses."
"The photograph that I call my best from a sitting is not always the clients favorite but it is the one that gives out the most emotion to anyone who looks at it."
"The photographer is like the cod, which lays a million eggs in order that one may be hatched."
"The photographic image… is a message without a code."
"The satisfaction comes from working next to 500 photographers and coming away with something different."
"The sun, then, is a master of chiaroscuro and, if he has a living petal for his pallet, is the first of colorists."
"The true history of photography has yet to be written."
"The very best pictures adapt themselves to many changes in meaning."
"The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking."
"Then, does it appear to me that in this age three things are clamorously required of Man in the miscellaneous thoroughfares of the metropolis. Firstly, that he have his boots cleaned. Secondly, that he eat a penny ice. Thirdly, that he get himself photographed. Then do I speculate, What have those seam-worn artists been who stand at the photograph doors in Greek caps, sample in hand, and mysteriously salute the public - the female public with a pressing tenderness - to come in and be ‘took‘? What did they do with their greasy blandishments, before the era of cheap photography?"
"There are lost languages and signs buried within photographs - the eyes are a primitive translation aid."
"There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures."
"There is no art which affords less opportunity to execute expression than photography. Everything is concentrated in a few seconds, when after perhaps an hours seeking, waiting, and hesitation, the photographer sees the realization of his inward vision, and in that moment he has one advantage over most arts — his medium is swift enough to record his momentary inspiration."
"They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum."
"To be a photographer, among other things, is to be a collector. The photograph always resides in the past, dragged along into continual presence."
"To most people a dead skunk by the side of the road is a bad smell, to me it is a universe of possibilities."
"To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul."
"Too many photographers try too hard. They try to lift photography into the realm of Art, because they have an inferiority complex about their craft. You and I would see more interesting photography if they would stop worrying, and instead, apply horse—sense to the problem of recording the look and feel of their own era."
"Unless a picture shocks, it is nothing."
"Usually I think if there is something imperfect in a photograph it makes the picture more real. Photographs that are slick, smooth, and perfect seem less honest to me."
"We do now distinctly propose the creation of a comprehensive and systematic stereographic library, where all men can find the special forms they particularly desire to see as artists, or as scholars, or as mechanics, or in any other capacity."
"We hate to look at his [Don McCullin‘s] pictures, but we have to. McCullin is the eye we cannot shut."
"When I am afraid I am taking a commonplace, cluttered picture, I try, in different ways, to come closer to my subject — to fall upon it. But since I am not interested in photographing single details, I often choose, as a solution, the panorama."
"When I die and they wrap me in a shroud I hope I won‘t be over exposed."
"When someone looks at one of my photographs I want it to touch all their senses. I want them to feel the gust of wind that blew the mans hat off or the gentle breeze that moved the curtains. They can almost hear the music that the lovers were dancing to or even be able to draw on a memory of what the day in the photo smelled like."
"When you photograph people in color, you are photographing their clothes. When you photograph them in B&W, you photograph their souls."
"When you see such photos, you can‘t help but wonder at just how sweet and sad and innocent all moments of life are rendered by the tripping of a camera‘s shutter, for at that point the future is still unknown and has yet to hurt us, and also for that brief moment, our poses are accepted as honest."
"Within the frame, if I can say things in a simple vein, with the fewest possible distractions to the mind and eye, I am finally satisfied."
"Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."
"You are not superior just because you see the world in an odious light."
"You furnish the pictures and I‘ll furnish the war."
"… the photographic industry was the refuge of every would-be painter, every painter too ill-endowed or too lazy to complete his studies, this universal infatuation bore not only the mark of a blindness, an imbecility, but had also the air of a vengeance"
 
  
 
  
 
  
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