The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Photography,
Photographers & Photographs

A click of the shutter, a crank of the film, and you've caught forever a significant bit of life. ~Willis Peterson, "A Philosophy of Seeing," Arizona Highways, May 1973,

PHOTOGRAPH, n.  A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. ~Ambrose Bierce

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls! ~Ted Grant

Some hate broccoli, some hate bacon,
I hate having my picture taken.
How can your family claim to love you
And then demand a picture of you?..
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Waiting for the Birdie"

To collect photographs is to collect the world. ~Susan Sontag, "In Plato's Cave," On Photography, 1977

The only system to photograph a cat is to use infinite patience. ~Charles E. Bullard, 1915  [a little altered —tg]

Life doesn't hold still. A good snapshot stopped a moment from running away. ~Eudora Welty (1909–2001)

As for the picture — I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything. ~John Steinbeck

I've been scanning some negatives from the 80's. It's like a retro #Instagram. ~Andy Lee, @andrewdotlee, tweet, 2012

What is the difference between photography and the common cold? One makes fac-similes, the other makes sick families. ~Joke from the 1800s  [a little altered —tg]

No photograph ever was good, yet, of anybody — hunger and thirst and utter wretchedness overtake the outlaw who invented it! It transforms into desperadoes the meekest of men; depicts sinless innocence upon the pictured faces of ruffians; gives the wise man the stupid leer of a fool, and a fool an expression of more than earthly wisdom. If a man tries to look serious when he sits for his picture the photograph makes him look as solemn as an owl; if he smiles, the photograph smirks repulsively; if he tries to look pleasant, the photograph looks silly; if he makes the fatal mistake of attempting to seem pensive, the camera will surely write him down as an ass. The sun never looks through the photographic instrument that it does not print a lie. The piece of glass it prints it on is well named a "negative" — a contradiction — a misrepresentation — a falsehood. I speak feeling of this matter, because by turns the instrument has represented me to be a lunatic, a Soloman, a missionary, a burglar and an abject idiot, and I am neither. ~Mark Twain, 1866,

Photographs, which fiddle with the scale of the world, themselves get reduced, blown up, cropped, retouched, doctored, tricked out. ~Susan Sontag, "In Plato's Cave," On Photography, 1977

Poets, authors, artists and photographers.... are not ordinary people, because it takes a certain make up of human qualities to extract a billionth of a second from eternity and be aware of, see, record and produce any given scene. ~Jose Izuela, "The Soul Stirring Skies of Arizona," Arizona Highways, April 1971,

All photos are accurate. None of them is the truth. ~Richard Avedon, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 2005

#WhenIWasYourAge: It took a week to learn whether your photos came out okay. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014

What is taken from you before you get it? Your photograph. ~Joke from the 1800s

It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional. ~Robert Brault,

As we passed on we asked Mr. Clemens if he didn't ever get tired of being bothered in this way, but he replied that it was very little trouble to stop for a moment, and was most gratifying to his vanity! I had noticed that Mr. Clemens always assumed a dignified pose at such times, with a serious, almost severe expression of face. When he was spoken to of this he said: "I think a photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever." ~Elizabeth Wallace, Mark Twain and The Happy Island, 1913

I consider photographs wanting in mellowness as a general rule and making you look like a new-ploughed field. ~Charles Dickens, "Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings"

Whiskey is the name of the photographer that can make a high-priced man look like 30 cents. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

A photograph is memory in the raw. ~Terri Guillemets

All things are like exposed photographic plates that have no visible image on them till they have been developed. ~Samuel Butler

Recently, photography has become... mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power. ~Susan Sontag, 1973

One might as well try to photograph air as to say why one loves. ~Minna Thomas Antrim

I'm not a particularly verbose person. I think that's why I like taking pictures… they speak for themselves. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson, tweet, 2009

Photographs are wordless history. ~Terri Guillemets

A photograph gives relief to the banished and absent lover. ~James Iredell

Prose is a photograph, poetry a painting in oil-colors. ~Austin O'Malley

Did you ever get the feeling that vacations were thought up by Eastman Kodak? ~Robert Orben, 2100 Laughs For All Occasions, 1983

To watch your neighbor's vacation slides, all you need are three things: patience, goodwill, and the ability to yawn through your belly button. ~Robert Orben, 2400 Jokes to Brighten Your Speeches, 1984

You don't need a camera all the time — the soul, heart, eyes, spirit, and all your other senses capture moments beautifully too. ~Terri Guillemets

Photography is a tough life: you can be taken, framed, exposed, shot, captured, and hung all in the same day. ~Author unknown

There is a photographer in every bush, going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. ~Samuel Butler

There's only one problem with the beauty of springtime — always running out of film! ~Terri Guillemets, "Depth of field," 1990

A true scrapbook addict is one who stages photographs to match paper she likes. ~Author unknown

Just as pieces of material stitched together in a quilt warm our bodies, scrapbooks bind together memories to warm our hearts. ~Author unknown

If you can't find what you're looking for here, check out Hákon Ágústsson’s huge collection of photography quotations at

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published 2000 May 18
revised 2021 Sep 4
last saved 2023 Oct 25