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Publication Date: 2014-04-24

Thoughts About Photography

In our office we have been thinking a lot about photography recently. Coming off the heels of the photography auction season and the AIPAD fair in New York, we have been saturated with new and classic photographs. We decided to take some time and think about what photography is through the eyes of photographers. Here are some of our favorite quotes accompanied by photos recently sold at Sotheby’s.


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) Music – A Sequence of Ten Cloud Photographs, No. VII, 1922

"You seem to assume that a photograph is one of a dozen or a hundred or maybe a million prints, all prints from one negative necessarily behind alike and so replaceable. But then along comes one print that embodies something that you have to say that is subtle and elusive, something that is still a straight print, but when shown with a thousand mechanically made prints, has something that the others don't have. What is it that this print has? It is something born of spirit, and spirit is an intangible..."
- Alfred Stieglitz, 1942

Robert Frank (American, 1924) Street Line, New York (34th Street), circa 1948.

"When people look at my pictures, I want them to feel the way they do when they read a line of a poem twice."
- Robert Frank, 1951

Henri Cartier-Bresson (France, 1908-2004) Seville, 1933.

"I have never been interested in the documentary aspect of photography except as poetic expression. Only the photograph that springs from life is of interest to me. The joy of looking, sensitivity, sensuality, imagination, all that one takes to heart, come together in the viewfinder of a camera. That joy will exist in me forever.”

- Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1977

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958) ‘Shells’, 1927.

"Photography is peculiarly adapted to the American psyche. No argument as to whether it is art or not can destroy its value. The fact is, it is not a medium which has reached the end of its value as an expression, it is vital in that it belongs to an epoch, a race in the making, the becoming.”

- Edward Weston, 1932


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