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Famous Photography Quotes for Inspiration

written by: Stephanie Mojica•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/4/2011

Using famous photography quotes for inspiration might be just what you need to get over a creative slump. Quotes are used across multiple industries for motivation, and this is a guide to the words of some of the most successful photographers in the world.

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    Motivation

    Richard Avedon, who started in fashion photography and moved into the world of fine art through his images, died in 2004. But some of his words are still well-publicized on the Internet and he is even mentioned in television shows like "The Simpsons."

    One of his most motivational quotes is the following: "If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up."

    Artists need to create in order to survive, whether emotionally or financially. For a true photographer, taking a photo is just as important as breathing. The mind, body, and soul does not rest when its creative potential is not being used to the fullest extent possible. Avedon had a lot of books and recorded icons such as Audrey Hepburn, but did not mention money in most of his famous photography quotes for inspiration. He likened doing something, anything related to his art and true calling to being a part of his day and thus a part of him.

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    Creative Risks

    Richard Prince is still alive and well-known for both his photographs and paintings. He is also considered a controversial figure by some in the art world, but has maintained a place in the annals of popular photography.

    One of his quotes about taking creative and other necessary risks is as follows: "A lot of it’s experimental, spontaneous. It's about knocking about in the studio and bumping into things."

    It can be tempting to stick to a formula and have photos posed, especially when dealing with fashion photography. However, reading famous photography quotes for inspiration reminds us that many of the best photos have resulted by accident or just plain risk-taking. Going against the norm without breaking laws or violating people's privacy is usually well-worth the effort, and creative risks make true art.

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    Goals

    Setting goals is important and for the professional photographer, a financial reality especially in economically-challenged times. However, it is essential to keep perspective and remain open-minded.

    The late German photographer Helmut Newton offered a number of famous photography quotes for inspiration, an especially telling one being the following: "The point of my photography has always been to challenge myself, to go a little further than my Germanic discipline and Teutonic nature would traditionally permit me to."

    Discipline and nature are a natural part of being human and having financial and social needs. However, when one becomes too relaxed in talent and success, or obsessed with achieving these aims, then art can suffer as a result. Challenging yourself to exceed your past achievements and your own expectations is an excellent way to be the best photographer you can be.

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    Additional Quotes by Famous Photographers

    In addition to the above mentioned quotes, here are a few other quotes by famous photographers that you can take with you for ideas and inspiration:

    Anne Geddes said, "The trouble with flowers is that invariably, when I'm ready to photograph them, they are not in season." (If you don't want to find yourself in the same predicament, here are some flower photography tips to help prepare you for when the flowers are in season.)

    Another quote from Helmut Newton is, "The photographs don't arouse me. All I can think about is the hard work it took to make them."

    Photojournalist and advertising photographer, Elliot Erwitt, once said, “To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

    Ansel Adams said, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

    "If I knew what the picture was going to be like I wouldn’t make it. It was almost like it was made already...the challenge is more about trying to make what you can’t think of." Cindy Sherman