Quality images are heavy...

10 famous quotes from masters of street photography

March 14, 2019
Street photography master quotes

In this article top 10 quotes from the most famous masters of street photography.

1) Street photography quotes: Robert Capa

If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.

This though means that if you want take good street shots you have to be close to your subject (shooting with a wide-angle lens). This is true. When you are close photos are more strong and potentially engaging. But it’s not always like that. You can take wonderful street shots also photographing with a telephoto lens. Think for example to Saul Leiter’s approach (and also to Bresson).

Street photography master quotes
Robert Capa


2) Street photography quotes: Garry Winogrand

Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the photo as a judgment that the photographs is good.

Don’t look at your photos immediately after you’ve taken them. I suggest you waiting days (or months) before editing. You have to be emotionally detached from your shots if you want to be objective. So forgets about your feelings in the moment you’ve taken the shots.

Street photography master quotes
Garry Winongrand


3) Street photography quotes: Henry Cartier Bresson

Composition must be one of our constant preoccupations, but at the moment of shooting it can stem only from our intuition, for we are out to capture the fugitive moment, and all the interrelationships involved are on te move.

Shoot from your gut and intuitions, don’t overthink when you’re doing street photography. Photograph what you like instinctively. If you feel fear and excitment when you’re shooting probably you want take the picture. Photograph using your “right brain”, the creative one; turn off your “left brain” in the street. Use your left brain only when you’re editing and processing pictures on your pc at home. In that phase you can “judge” the scene, the subjects and the composition.

Street photography master quotes
Henry Cartier Bresson


4) Street photography quotes: Rene Burri

In those days Henry Cartier Bresson limited us to lenses from 35 mm to 90 mm. When i showed him the photos he said:”Brilliant Renè!”. I went outside and shouted “Aha!”He heard me and said “What was that?” I said “nothing never mind!”. The lens i used was 180 mm – I never told him! At that point i broke loose from my mentor. I killed my mentor!”

Don’t have rules. Try, experiment in your photography. At the end of his life Henry Cartier Bresson stopped making photographs and started painting all day. Probably because he had too many rules in his photography: don’t crop, don’t shot from the hip, use 35 o 50 mm lenses, shot only in black and white, don’t use flash, no posing photo and so on… I suggest studying HCB and other masters of street photography but at the same time try to experiment, don’t follow always their ideas and rules.

Street photography master quotes
René Burri


5) Street photography quotes: Alex Webb

Luck, or perhaps serendipity, play a big role. But you never know what is going to happen. And what is most exciting is when the utterly unexpected happens, and you manage to be there at the right place at the right time, and push the shutter at the right moment. Most of the time it doesn’t work out that way. Street photography is 99,9% about failure.

You can shot on the streets for one day, one week, one month and so on without having a good photo. You can be a good photographer but luck and serendipity are very important. Often best shots come out from sudden situations you were not looking for. So don’t be discouraged and don’t be lazy, try and try again because “street photography is 99,9% about failure“.

Street photography master quotes
Alex Webb


6) Street photography quotes: Daido Moriyama

For me capturing what i feel with my body is more important than technicalities of photography. If the image is shaking it’s Ok, if it’s out of focus it’s Ok. Clarity isn’t what photography is about.

Sometimes sharpness and focus aren’t important in street photography. A photo can be awesome also if blurred. Occasionally a street shot can be more fascinating if it is out of focus as in some Moriyama’s photos. Street life is not about clarity!

Street photography master quotes
Daido Moriyama


7) Street photography quotes: Sebastiao Salgado

The biggest danger for a photographer is if they start thinking they are important.

Another modern concept in art and of course in street photography. Never think of being the best, look always to work of other artits, try, experiment, critic yourself!

Street photography master quotes
Sebastiao Salgado


8) Street photography quotes: Elliott Erwitt

My wish for the future of photography is that it might continue to have some relevance to the human condition and might represent work that evokes knowledge and emotions. That photography has content rather than just form.

Don’t photograph only lights/shadows and silhouettes. In Street photography form is important, but content is more important. Today many street photos posted in social media are emotionally empty, based only on composition and aesthetics. Try to photograph emotions!

Street photography master quotes
Elliot Erwitt


9) Street photography quotes: Constantine Manos

Shooting people is more beautiful, because it is more difficult.

Shooting strangers is changelling because is difficult. We are afraid that some people can yell at us or that we look weird and disrespectful. Street photography is not only about photos, it’s also about social interaction, curiosity, humanity… It’s a life art.

Street photography master quotes
Constantine Manos


10) Street photography quotes: Bruce Gilden

Photograph who you are.

Don’t photograph what other people like. Feel free shooting what you like instead thinking at other people’s preferences and liking. You can create art and have a personal style only in this way. Photograph who you are means photograph what you like. Try to imitate other street photographers only if you like their styles. Don’t do this for popularity or to win a contest.

Street photography master quotes
Bruce Gilden


Stay well, have always light in your life

Best, F.S


Read more articles about street photography:

Smartphone street photography #2

Smartphone street photography #1

Street photography: I want more life

Street photography: Stanley Kubrick

Follow me:

  • Andrea March 21, 2019

    Sei un grande!

  • Reply

    My favourite Street Photography quote: “I have good news for you all: Henri Cartier-Bresson is not god”. Alex Ramos

  • Leave a comment