Julia Anna Gospodarou


A quote, even if it is a short piece of wisdom, can give so much insight, that many times it can change entire philosophies, it can change lives. A quote can make you be aware of things you weren’t aware of before, it can transform your vision of the world and can enrich your work in ways you never expected.

For me photography is no different than art. I see photography as a tool just like painting, sculpture or other artistic manifestation that serves an artist in order to express himself.
Photography is not necessarily done in order to create art, but you can use photography to create art.

If you look around for quotes about photography or art, you will generally find either quotes about photography or quotes about art separately, but so far I haven’t found an article or publication that combines both under the same intention, and is aimed to fine art photographers.
Of course these quotes will not be useful only to fine art photographers, but for anyone passionate about photography and art, and wanting to explore photography as an instrument to create art. Since fine art photographers do not have too many specific resources to study, I think this is going to be a useful tool in order to determine what photography is, what art is, so we can understand better what we do as fine art photographers, and manage to do better.

I have an immense respect for the masters of the past, in everything that has to do with art, photography, architecture, music and literature and I rely on their wisdom many times in case of doubt. Their wisdom and experience always helps and this is why I insist also when I work with my students in studying the great minds and talents of the past to force force and inspiration for our own art.

These are what I consider the best quotes about photography and art. They are 80 for now but they can become more in the future as I come in contact with even more pieces of wisdom, so come back to this article in the future to read new quotes I will be adding to it. If you subscribe to my blog you can receive updates on this article as well as my new articles and tutorials about fine art photography.





“When I make a picture, I make love.”
– Alfred Stieglitz


“Photography is still a very new medium and everything must be tried and dared. Photography is not a sport. It has no rules. It’s the result it counts no matter how it’s achieved.”
– Bill Brandt

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”
– Walker Evans

“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

Ansel Adams – Moonrise, Hernandez

“Never take a picture of anything you are not passionately interested in.”
– Lieette Model

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. “
– Dorohea Lange

” I am always mentally photographing everything as practice.”
– Minor White

“If you haven’t viewed a photograph for at least 30 minutes, you haven’t really seen it.”
Minor White

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”
― Ansel Adams

“There are no rules for good photographs. There are only good photographs”
– Ansel Adams

“Ask yourself, “Why am I seeing and feeling this? How am I growing? What am I learning?” Remember: Every coincidence is potentially meaningful. How high your awareness level is determines how much meaning you get from your world. Photography can teach you to improve your awareness level.”
– Ansel Adams

“Putting one’s head under the focusing cloth is a thrill, just as exciting to me today as it was when I started as a boy. To pivot the camera slowly around watching the image change on the ground glass is a revelation, one becomes a discoverer, seeing a new world through the lens. And finally the complete idea is there, and completely revealed.”
– Edward Weston

“Every photograph has an equivalent idea or emotion attached to it”
– Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz – The Horse-car Terminal

“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

“I have a vision of life, and I try to find equivalents for it in the form of photographs.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

“The great geniuses are those who have kept their childlike spirit and have added to it breadth of vision and experience.”
Alfred Stieglitz

“My cloud photographs are equivalents of my most profound life experiences, my basic philosophy of life. All art is an equivalent of the artist’s most profound life experiences.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
― Ansel Adams

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

“The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen”
– Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

“The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.”
– Robert Mapplethorpe

“I photograph to find out what something would look like photographed”
– Gary Winigrand

“Your first 10.000 photographs are the worst.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier Bresson – Hyeres

“There will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’ while other of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”
– Man Ray

“The mystery isn’t in the technique, i’s in each of us.”
– Harry Calahan

“As a matter of fact, nearly all the greatest work is being, and has always been done, by those who are following photography for the love of it, and not merely for financial reasons. As the name implies, an amateur is one who works for love.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

“Several people feel I have photographed God. May be.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

“Photography my passion, the search for truth, my obsession.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

“A photograph is usually looked at- seldom looked into.”
― Ansel Adams

“The photographer cannot, like Turner, whisk an invisible town around a hill and bring it into view, and add a tower or two to a palatial building, or shave off a mountain’s scalp. He or she must take what he or she sees and just as it is and his or her liberty is in the selection of the point of view”
– H J Morton

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
– Diane Arbus

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”
– Ernst Haas

“It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country.”
– Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt – Nude, Belgravia

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”
– Imogen Cunningham

“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”
― Edward Weston

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”
– Robert Capa

“The pictures are there, and you just take them.”
– Robert Capa

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.
– Dorothea Lange

“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson



“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”
– Edward Hopper

“I like living, breathing better than working…my art is that of living. Each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere, which is neither visual nor cerebral, it’s a sort of constant euphoria.”
― Marcel Duchamp

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Every good painter paints what he is.”
– Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock – Autumn Rhythm

“Art is Art. Everything else is everything else.”
– Ad Reinhardt

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”
– Émile Zola

“The way to create art is to burn and destroy ordinary concepts and to substitute them with new truths that run down from the top of the head and out of the heart”
― Charles Bukowski

“In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new; they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves; novelty is seldom the essential. This has to do with one thing only; making a subject better from its intrinsic nature.”
– Henri de Toulouse Lautrec

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”
– Robert Henri

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”
― Frida Kahlo

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
– Vincent van Gogh

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.”
– G. K . Chesterton

“The artist, and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word. He must heed only the call that arises within him from three strong voices: the voice of death, with all its foreboding, the voice of love and the voice of art.”
― Federico García Lorca

“A feeling for things in themselves is much more important than a sense of the pictorial.”
– Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night

“A painting that is well composed is half finished.”
– Pierre Bonnard

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone taught me — shapes and ideas so near to me,so natural to my way of being and thinking.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”
― Pablo Picasso

“I don’t believe in art. I believe in artists.”
― Marcel Duchamp

“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.”
― D.W. Winnicott

“The modern artist is working with space and time and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.”
― Jackson Pollock

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
– Pablo Picasso

“The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist. “
– David Hockney

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
– Thomas Merton

“We [the artists] are not understood. We are accepted.”
– Eugène Delacroix

“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.”
– Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne – The Card Players

“The man who cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.”
― André Breton

“I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.”
― Mark Rothko

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”
― Paul Gauguin

“If there were only one truth, you couldn’t paint a hundred canvases on the same theme.”
– Pablo Picasso

“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life. ”
― Federico Fellini

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another.”
– Anaïs Nin

“We have art in order not to die of the truth.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

“If a building becomes architecture, then it is art.”
Arne Jacobsen

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”
― Anton Chekhov

“There are fairy tales to be written for the grown-ups.”
– André Breton (about Surrealism)

“It’s not a matter of painting life. It’s a matter of giving life to a painting”
– Richard Diebenkorn

“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”
Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso – Guernica

“What struck me, as I walked up and down the history of painting, was how much it was about fading light, and that the history of painting is also the history of the loss of light. For slowly but surely… the light is squeezed out of painting to become finally a mere candle-flicker. A world once full of light becomes a world of shadows.”
– Ian McKeever

“It is the dark that contains all the colours – not the light
What else are colours but shadows
Or shades of light.
Lay colours on top of each other and you get black,
The purest vision
Is pure shadow
The opposite of light.”
– Poem by Gunnar Ekelö

“Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.”
― Jean Cocteau

“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”
― Oscar Wilde


I hope you found these pieces of wisdom interesting and that they will guide you from now on and give you more freedom and inspiration for your work.

Before ending, I want to share with you a personal quote, a few thoughts about art that I believe in.

What I believe about art
“It is possible to create art without a mind, but it is impossible to do it without a soul. Your art will look exactly like your soul does, it will be a mirror of your truest ego, of your deepest desires, of your strongest feelings and hopes. Whoever knows how to look at it will be able to see the whole you in your art. It’s not easy to show one’s soul so completely naked, that is why you have to truly need it in order to find the way and the courage to create it.

If you do not need it like air, it is not art.”

– Julia Anna Gospodarou –



By Julia Anna Gospodarou – (c) Copyright 2017 Julia Anna Gospodarou



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