By SnapSquad - November 20, 2018

I hope you have enjoyed our latest post on Street Photography. To motivate and inspire you further, here is a list of quotes from street photographers. If you look around the net, you will find hips of those but here, I have picked those that illustrate what was highlighted in our post: that (obviously) you have to go out there, that it is a very emotional art genre, and that you need lots of patience to practise the art.

I - Be Out There 

1- Alex WEBB

“I only know how to approach a place by walking. For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heat of the known awaits just around the corner. “

American street photographer Alex Webb worked as a professional photojournalist and joined Magnum Photos as an associate member in 1976. Webb started as a black and white photographer until 1978 when he started to shoot in colour and has never stopped since, using colours and emotions in his work.

2-Matt Stuart

“Buy a good pair of comfortable shoes, have a camera around your neck at all times, keep your elbows in, be patient, optimistic and don’t forget to smile.”

Matt Stuart from West London is a member of an international group of street photographers: In-Public Street Photography. His book of street photography, All That Life Can Afford (2016) is, of course, a great reference. 

3-Steve McCurry

“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”

Steve McCurry is an American photo-journalist you will recognise right away when you know his most famous photo is the “Afghan Girl”. His books: A life in Pictures and Afghanistan.

II - Feel The Street

1-Alfred Eisenstaed

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898 – August 1995) was an American photojournalist who worked for Life Magazine. He happened to be in the street, in Time Square to be precise, during the V-J Day celebration and yes, he is the one who shot V-J Day in Times Square. Talk about capturing the emotion!

2- Robert Capa

“If your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough”
Capa (1913-1954) photographed D-Day and the Spanish civil war (The Falling Soldier). His words can be interpreted as being physically close enough or emphatically close. Think about it, both ways are correct.                                                                                                                  

Here is another quote by Capa that I like to share: “I hope to stay unemployed as a war photographer till the end of my life”

3- Irving Penn

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.”

In 1938 American Irving Penn (1917-2009) started recording his observations with he called “camera notes”. While street photographing, his special interest was for signage and political graffiti of resistance.

4-David Alan Harvey

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”

Harvey who is also American, discovered photography when he was only 11 years old. He published his first photo book “Tell it Like it is” when he was 20. Harvey started with documenting the lives of black families in Virginia and kept on recording culture on both sides of the Atlantic. His other books: Cuba, Divided Soul and Living Proof.

5-Christophe Agou

“When I use the camera, I often feel like I know part of the people or places I come in contact with.”

Christophe Agou (1969 – 2015) a French, who had adopted New York as his home was a street and documentary photographer. Like his friend Matt Stuart, he was a member of the In-Public street photography collective. Christophe photographic talent was to be able to capture the essence of a moment; to do that, he invested his heart into what he was doing. Check out his book: Life Below (2004) in the New York subway.

6- Susan Meiselas

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.”

Susan Meiselas who is an American considers herself as “The present but almost invisible photographer” whose vocation is to immortalize people caught up in the tidal waves of politics and war (Kurdistan-Nicaragua).

III - Practice the Art of Patience

1- Guy Le Querrec

“A photographer is an acrobat treading the high wire of chance, trying to capture shooting stars.”

Guy Le Querrec a Breton born in Paris in 1941.  He worked as a reporter photographer in francophone Africa but also in China and the USA (documenting Amerindians) and photographing Villejuif, a suburb of Paris.
His is also very well known for photographing jazz festivals, which is how he started with photography.

2- Thomas Leuthard

“Street Photography is like fishing. Catching the fish is more exciting than eating it… “

Leuthard who is Swiss is a full-time street photographer. Lens Magazine ranks him amongst the 5 most active street photographers. His work is usually in black and white. He shares all his photos on Flickr for everyone to discover and enjoy; I am thinking particularly of amateur street photographers. 

3- Ansel Adams

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”
Born in San Francisco, Ansel Adams (1902-1984) was well known as a commercial photographer and even more famous as a conservationist photographer with a love for Yosemite Park and like most photographers, he did take some awesome street shots. In any case, I find his quote quite appropriate for our subject.

I’ll leave you with a quote attributed to an ancient wise man, Confucius: 

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”


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