Alfred Stieglitz Quotes | Quotes by Alfred Stieglitz

1There is nothing so wrong as accepting a thing merely because men who have done things say it should be so.

2The ability to make a truly artistic photograph is not acquired off-hand, but is the result of an artistic instinct coupled with years of labor.

3To demand the portrait that will be a complete portrait of a person is as futile as to demand that a motion picture be condensed into a single still.

4I was sad to leave Europe in 1890, after my student days in Germany... But then, once back in New York, I experienced an intense longing for Europe, for its vital tradition of music, theatre, art, craftsmanship... I felt bewildered and lonely. How was I to use myself?

5Photographers must learn not to be ashamed to have their photographs look like photographs.

6Photography is my passion.

7I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing.

8Beautiful dreams - if the world were more beautiful they would come true - But the world is relentless & cruel - people are - they must be, I suppose, or they could not live.

9Photography as a fad is well-nigh on its last legs, thanks principally to the bicycle craze.

10A woman artist could be one of those intuitive geniuses [who] have kept their childlike spirit and have added to it breadth of vision and experience.

Alfred Stieglitz Quotes

11I do not object to retouching, dodging or accentuation as long as they do not interfere with the natural qualities of photographic technique.

12Utopia is in the moment. Not in some future time, some other place, but in the here and now, or else it is nowhere.

13The scene fascinated me: a round straw hat; the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right; the white drawbridge, its railings made of chain; white suspenders crossed on the back of a man below; circular iron machinery; a mast that cut into the sky, completing a triangle.

14For that is the power of the camera: seize the familiar and give it new meanings, a special significance by the mark of a personality.

15If you place the imperfect next to the perfect, people will see the difference between the one and the other. But if you offer the imperfect alone, people are only too apt to be satisfied by it.

16Technically perfect, pictorially rotten. (Stieglitz's standard comment on photographs he rejected for publication in The American Amateur Photographer.)

17My photographs are a picture of the chaos in the world, and of my relationship to that chaos. My prints show the world鈥檚 constant upsetting of man鈥檚 equilibrium, and his eternal battle to reestablish it.

18There are many schools of painting. Why should there not be many schools of photographic art? There is hardly a right and a wrong in these matters, but there is truth, and that should form the basis of all works of art.

19My ideal is to achieve the ability to produce numberless prints from each negative, prints all significantly alive, yet indistinguishably alike, and to be able to circulate them at a price not higher than that of a popular magazine, or even a daily paper. To gain that ability there has been no choice but to follow the road I have chosen.

20Wherever there is light, one can photograph.

Alfred Stieglitz Quotes

21We had many books and pictures... my parents' way of life doubtless left a lasting impression on me. They created an atmosphere in which a certain kind of freedom could exist. This may well account for my seeking a related sense of liberty as I grew up.

22If you can imagine photography in the guise of a woman and you鈥檇 ask her what she thought of Stieglitz, she鈥檇 say: He always treated me like a gentleman.

23My cloud photographs are equivalents of my most profound life experiences, my basic philosophy of life. All art is an equivalent of the artist鈥檚 most profound life experiences.

24Everything is relative except relatives, and they are absolute.

25My aim is increasingly to make my photographs look so much like photographs [rather than paintings, etchings, etc.] that unless one has eyes and sees, they won't be seen - and still everyone will never forget having once looked at them.

26Before the people at large, and for that matter, the artists themselves, understand what photography really means, as I understand that term, it is essential for them to be taught the real meaning of art.

27Photography my passion, the search for truth, my obsession.

28Several people feel I have photographed God. May be.

29Standing up here on the hill away from all humans - seeing these Wonders taking place before one's eyes - so silently... watching the silence of Nature. No school - no church - is as good a teacher as the eye understandingly seeing what's before it. I believe this more firmly than ever.

30When I make a picture, I make love.

Alfred Stieglitz Quotes

31All art, like all love, is rooted in heartache.

32Let me here call attention to one of the most universally popular mistakes that have to do with photography - that of classing supposedly excellent work as professional, and using the term amateur to convey the idea of immature productions and to excuse atrociously poor photographs.

33The fight for photography became my life.

34I detest tradition for tradition's sake; the half-alive; that which is not real. I feel no hatred of individuals, but of customs, traditions; superstitions that go against life, against truth, against the reality of experience, against the spontaneous living out of the sense of wonder-of fresh experience, freshly seen and communicated.

35The arts equally have distinct departments, and unless photography has its own possibilities of expression, separate from those of the other arts, it is merely a process, not an art.

36The camera was waiting for me by predestination and I took to it as a musician takes to the piano or a painter to canvas. I found that I was master of the elements, that I could work miracles.

37I have a vision of life, and I try to find equivalents for it in the form of photographs.

38It is not art in the professionalized sense about which I care, but that which is created sacredly, as a result of a deep inner experience, with all of oneself, and that becomes 'art' in time.

39As a matter of fact, nearly all the greatest work is being, and has always been done, by those who are following photography for the love of it, and not merely for financial reasons. As the name implies, an amateur is one who works for love.

40A work is not art until enough noise has been made about it and someone rich comes along and buys it.

Alfred Stieglitz Quotes

41Snow. White, white, white, soft and clean, and maddening shapes, with the whole world in them.

42The goal of art was the vital expression of self.

43My picture, Fifth Avenue, Winter is the result of a three hours' stand during a fierce snow-storm on February 22nd 1893, awaiting the proper moment. My patience was duly rewarded. Of course, the result contained an element of chance, as I might have stood there for hours without succeeding in getting the desired pictures.

44In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.

45All I want is to preserve that wonderful something which so purely exists between us.

46I have all but killed myself for Photography. My passion for it is greater than ever. It's forty years that I have fought its fight... I am not fighting to make a 'name' for myself. Maybe you have some feeling for what the fight is for. It's a world's fight... All that's born of spirit seems mad in these days of materialism run riot.