On How To Be a Great Photographer

“I don’t have any particular method to my madness. When I decide “what” I want to photograph, I choose the appropriate locations. Sometimes I choose “where” I want to photograph, then look for the “what” when I get there! Simple – no magic involved. I have a theory, which seems to work for me, that the best ideas come through thinking about something else! One of my hobbies is long distance running. I find there is something therapeutic and hypnotic in this activity, similar to practicing landscape photography. While thinking about one thing, and being active at the same time, other ideas float in and out. These floating ideas usually turn out to be the catalysts for my future projects.”

Michael Kenna

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.”

Chuck Close

Quite good 10 pieces of advice from Brooke Shade:

  1. Choose which images are your favorites and which are your least favorite.

    1. In doing this, you can begin to critique your portfolio in the most obvious way: by what you simply like and don’t like! Most people will be able to, in about 5 minutes or less, identify which images of theirs they personally are more connected to versus those that they enjoy less.
    2. By doing this, the artist can begin to identify the things about those images that he or she likes and does not like. For the favorite image, write down all of the reasons why it is your favorite. For the least favorite, write down all of the reasons why you are not connected to it.
    3. By doing this, you have a good start to a list of things that identify where you want to go in your photography. You know how you want to move forward and also what did not work for you in the past.
    4. Once you understand what you believe to be your strong and weak points, it will be easier to dive into the rest of your portfolio.

      9 more here.

Kertész had been constantly feeling alive through his work. Up until a few days before his death, he did not stop to photograph and to see his own world through his photographic lens.

Having reached the age of ninety, Kertész spent the last months of his life inside his home. His body was maybe giving up on him, but that did not make him quit photographing, even if his subject matter were the objects that were surrounding him inside the house. In fact, he created a new album, which he shared with photographer Susan May Tell. When she asked him what it was that made him go on photographing, Kertész replied: 

“I am still hungry…”

By Stelios Ginalas. More here.

“I sincerely believe it is normal and healthy to study the work of other artists, and even imitate other’s efforts, as a means to explore one’s personal vision. It has been thus throughout history in all mediums of creative expression. One advances by “standing on the shoulders of giants”. The perspective becomes a lot clearer from such high ground. On my own journey, I have actively tried to see through the eyes of many well known photographers, including but not limited to Atget, Bernhard, Brandt, Callahan, Cartier Bresson, Giacomelli, Misrach, Scheeler, Steiglitz, Sudek, Sugimoto, Weston (Brett) and many others. I have gone to places where they have photographed and have consciously and unconsciously emulated their style and subject matter. Other artists, in many mediums, have greatly helped my own development as a photographer. As small tokens of appreciation, I have often credited those influences openly by including their names in the titles of work. I have done this out of basic courtesy and respect. I do not feel that I have ever stolen from these artists.”

Michael Kenna

“Photography isn’t just the “premier coup,” it’s the only coup. That’s the very essence of photographic portraiture. Whatever happens in front of the lens stays. What’s captured during the encounter is all that exists. A photograph has to bring all of his or her resources to bear on the moment of exposure. All the planning, intuition, technical prowess, and knowledge, as well as the trust and rapport you have (or haven’t) established, will show up in the picture, frozen forever. It’s like an interview, except that’s no opportunity for a follow-up question. It triggers a classic left/right brain struggle: spontaneous yet calculated, emotional and rational. It’s exciting but terrifying, thrilling when it works and heartbreaking when it doesn’t.”

Greg Heisler