10 Quotes: Contemporary Photographers

10 Quotes: Contemporary Photographers

Discover visual and textual inspiration from 10 of today’s leading image-makers. These photographers offer insight into their craft, explaining why they take pictures and what it means to them.

“I think my pictures are really about a kind of tension between my need to make a perfect picture and the impossibility of doing so.” – Gregory Crewdson.

“My desire is to preserve the sense of people’s lives, to endow them with the strength and beauty I see in them. I want the people in my pictures to stare back.” – Nan Goldin.


“Photography can be used as a powerful weapon toward instituting political and cultural change. I for one will continue to work toward this end.” – Carrie Mae Weems.

“My photographs are a celebration of life, fun and the beautiful. They are a world that doesn’t exist. A fantasy. Freedom is real. There are no rules. The life I wish I was living.” – Ryan McGinley

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” – Don McCullin.


”We hold the power to shift perceptions… We are living in a global world, and the new generation should be part of shifting the photography world so that there is a global voice.” – Aïda Muluneh.

“Photography is a system of saving memories. It’s a time machine, in a way, to preserve the memory, to preserve time.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto.

“I’m interested in the psychological truth more than the photographic truth.” – Hannah Starkey.

“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” – Sally Mann.

“I aim to visualise what a Black utopia looks like or could look like. People say utopia is never achievable, but I love the possibility that photography brings. It allows me to dream and make that dream become very real.” – Tyler Mitchell.


Image Credits:
1. Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 2004.
2. Nan Goldin, Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a taxi, NYC, 1991.
2. Untitled, 1990 (negative), 2011 (print), by Carrie Mae Weems (American, born 1953), 2011-194-2a–c © Carrie Mae Weems, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
3. Untitled (Man Reading Newspaper) C Photo: Carrie Mae Weems/Carrie Mae Weems.
4. Ryan McGinley, Dakota Hair, 2004.
5. Don McCullin’s Fishermen Playing Football During their Lunch Break, Scarborough, Yorkshire, 1967. © Don McCullin.
6. The Bridge Between (Aïda Muluneh).
/ Sai Mado. The Distant Gaze (Aïda Muluneh).
7. Hiroshi Sugimoto, Franklin Park Theater, Boston, 2015.
8. Image by Hannah Starkey.

9. Sally Mann, The Turn, 2005. Gelatin silver print. Private collection. © Sally Mann.
10. Untitled, Sosa with Orange Hula Hoop, 2019. Photograph: Tyler Mitchell