Quotes & inspiration

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body" ~ Joseph Addison

By In Life

Quotes & Inspiration

Next to my love for photography, I’ve always been a fan of reading, words, Quotes & Inspiration. I read a lot, and every once in a while, I find a passage, a line of such significance, that you want to save it for later. For that reason, I had actually started adding quotes to my blog at some time. Well, to be honest, it was also a lazy way to get more content up on the blog as it was quite empty, but hey, who’s counting :D.

But now it’s time to merge all these quotes into one article and delete all these random posts. I’ll try to explain why I love these quotes so much, and what went through my head as I posted them.

(Edit) While writing this post I noticed that this would probably be the longest read I ever posted, so I have skipped some of the quotes.

On photography

Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.

~Diane Arbus

At the time I was just starting my venture into street photography. In my opinion, Diane‘s comparison between tiptoeing to steal Oreo cookies and being in “stealth” mode to “steal” a beautiful picture was cool and funny.

On quality

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop

Ansel Adams

Nowadays, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of images we are shown. A lot of them good, some of them excellent, and a lot of them, well, let’s put it mildly, not so good. Social media want to trap us more and more into their advertising web, and when you don’t post regularly, you’re just not shown. I had thought a lot about this and was getting tired of social media, and having to post mediocre photos just to keep up. Ansel said it right, so I decided to only post good stuff (in my eyes) anymore.

On photography

The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.

Andy Warhol

Well, Andy said it, and he’s right. Life is just a string of fleeting moments. People come, people go, and people change. With photography, you capture such a fleeting moment and can keep it. Until your hard drive crashes of course, but that’s a different story altogether.

On observation

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.

Elliott Erwitt

Isn’t this quote by Erwitt true also? On one hand, you can take beautiful photos everywhere. On the other hand, not all of us can! And, on the other hand, all photos we make, are in some way a mirror of our own self. Of how we see the world.

On beauty

We are often taught to look for the beauty in all things, so in finding it, the layman asks the philosopher while the philosopher asks the photographer.

Criss Jami

In no way do I want to say that photographers know or see more than philosophers or “laymen”. But, I do think that when your passion lies with photography, you tend to look at your surroundings a bit more, and maybe see appreciate the beauty in the world in a different way.

On life

Photography is a love affair with life.

Burk Uzzle

The more I started letting go during my life, the more I started thinking about this quote by Burk Uzzle, and the more I found that I am in love with life. And I savour every second of it, either good or bad. And I am fortunate enough to be able to document this life in my own way, through photography.

On portraiture

It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.

Paul Caponigro

As I was contemplating my past, present, and future endeavours as a photographer, I found that indeed, you can make beautiful photos of people. But it doesn’t cut it for me. I want to photograph people as they are. I often find myself loving the candid, in-between shots on a photoshoot more than the posed ones. So I agree with Paul on this one.

On falling in love

A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.

Annie Leibovitz

I think Annie said it, and I don’t know about other photographers, but it happens to me, all the time. I think in order to get intimacy into a portrait, you have to open your heart to your subject, be it a person or an abandoned building, or a landscape. So don’t worry, it’s not a creepy “I’ll stalk you” love, but having an open heart for the one in front of your camera. I think that is important. That’s also why I don’t shoot just anyone and want to get to know the people I shoot.

On burning out

We tediously create calendars filled with empty duties, and then we foolishly let those calendars empty us.

Craig D. Lounsbrough

Well, that was a time in my life I would not recommend to anyone, so Lounsbrough’s text felt right in place. I was in a burnout for a couple of months. The good thing about this time in my life is that I no longer let those calendars empty me. I decide what I want to do with my life, and leave ample time for myself.

On rules

I didn’t write the rules. Why would I follow them?”

W. Eugene Smith

Well, the old anarchist in me had to rear its (not so) ugly head. This is of course true in life as well as in photography. In life, of course, there’s the stuff that’s considered normal behaviour. Like being a decent human being. And there are agreements on how to behave in situations, so you won’t crash cars into each other on every crossroad. And it’s ok to live by these.

But there are enough situations in which you can bend those rules as long as nobody comes to harm. The same for photography, if everybody would always follow the “rules”, photography would be a dull place. So there’s no shame in understanding and then breaking them from time to time. So hats off to you, W. Eugene!

On new beginnings

And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.

Rainer Maria Rilke

I posted this one by Rilke around this time last year. Well, 2020 has been a year full of things that never were. Damn. Let’s hope 2021 will be a bit easier on all of us again.

On balance

Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance, life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

George Orwell

Another burnout quote actually. And very Buddhist of Mr Orwell. Life is suffering. And when you know that, it’s okay.

On life

The Price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

Henry David Thoreau

I’ll close this post with this beautiful quote by Henry David Thoreau. This one was also a game-changer for me. Instead of just living and seeing what happens, I have understood that everything you do has its price. Even if it’s just the time you (have to) invest. So why do stuff you don’t love? Why do stuff that doesn’t get you anything? Of course, we have to clean our houses, but that brings peace and serenity, at least for me. But when you don’t like your job, why not change? Why exchange such a huge amount of life for a job you don’t love?

So, this turned out to be quite a lengthy read. Hope you don’t mind. If you do, or if you have anything to add, leave a comment.

~ B. B.

Written by Bas

Photographer, traveler, lover of black coffee, red wine and gin & tonic. Wearer of black glasses and a black hat, always a camera in hand, and the occasional writer.
  1. Astrid 10-01-2021

    Je maakt mooie foto’s en super ik ken je van vroeger ik kom ook uit tegelen super wat je bereikt hebt

    • Bas 10-01-2021

      Ha Astrid,

      Leuk om te horen, dank je. Als je ooit foto’s nodig hebt, dan weet je me te vinden 😉


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