September 19th, 2008 admin

While I’m not generally a fan of photography compendium’s, I recently picked up Image Makers, Image Takers by Anne-Celine Jaeger and found some of the quotes to be quite revealing. The first section of the book is broken up into interviews with photographic artists, working within the disciplines of fine art, documentary, fashion, advertising and portraiture, where they are asked about what inspires them, the balance of technique and gift and the process of artistic creation. The second section has picture editors, curators, agency directors and art book publishers interviewed about what they look for in an image.


Here are some of the quotes-

William Eggleston is asked “How do you decide if something is worthy of being captured?”

“I never know beforehand. Until I see it. It just happens all at once. I take a picture very quickly and instantly forget about it. Not for good, but for the time being. Suddenly I just feel like I have to take a picture. Sometimes I’ll leave the house with a fully loaded camera and end up with nothing. It’s just about being there. Anywhere. Even the most uninteresting, ugly or boring places can for an instant become magical to me.”

William Eggleston quotes Garry Winogrand-

“When someone asked him why he took pictures, Garry said, ‘Because I want to see what something looks like when it’s photographed.'”

Stephen Shore is asked “Do you need a philosophy to do great work?”

“I would call it ‘intentionality’. Sometimes I meet young artists and it becomes clear that for some the main motivation is getting a show in Chelsea. It strikes me that this is very different to the way it was for me, which was that I wanted to understand photography and the world and myself. To do that, I produced work. The work that was shown was like a by-product, but never the purpose of my photography. The thought process doesn’t even have to be conceptual or intellectual. It can be visual, or a layer of thought that’s wordless. I’m always exploring some question or other, but it may not even be formulate as such. I believe the work produced by most established artists, was produced as a by-product of their personal explorations.”

Eugene Richards is asked “Do you see yourself more as a photographer or a journalist?”

“I go out into the world as a photographer, but I were to tell the truth, if I could become a very fine writer, I wouldn’t need to take photographs any more.”

David LaChapelle is asked “Do you think you can learn a way of seeing?”

“I think you either have it or you don’t. If you have it, you have to discipline yourself to prove it.”

Alec Soth is asked “Are you ever in the situation where you think I’m not sure that was in focus but you have to let it go?”

“All the time. It’s the bane of my existence. I miss pictures all the time. It kills me. But I’m technically better now and I also shoot more film, so I have better odds. I also have this problems that I try to get too much into a picture. I have to remind myself that photography is about limitation. It’s about not having everything there.”

William Eggleston is asked “What goes through your mind when you are framing a shot”?

“Nothing really. It happens so fast. I compose very quickly and without thinking, but conciously. I take a picture instantly and never more than one. Sometimes I worry about the picture being out of focus, but I take the chance. A long time ago, I would have taken several shots of the same thing, but I realised that I could never decide which one was the best shot. I thought I was wasting a lot of time looking at the damn near identical pictures. I wanted to discipline myself to take only one picture of something, and it didn’t work out, that’s just too bad. But it’s pretty much always worked.”

Martin Parr is asked “What are you thinking about, for example, when you are taking a picture in New Brighton of a young mother and kids eating chips opposite an over-flowing dustbin?”

“I’m thinking, ‘Here’s a family on their day out and the litter is spewing over because it’s a bank holiday weekend.'” (!?)


  1. Oh no… One of the dullest and less ambitious books ever.

  2. Thanks for extracting the most interesting parts!

  3. Hi

    Saw your post on Dave LaChapelle and thought you might find our recent pod amazing. It features an interview with the photographer as
    Jael DePardo heads to NY, where she gets a chance to meet up with David LaChapelle at his latest show. There are some great explanations for his pieces. Fantastic insight. Check it out at

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