Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.— W. Eugene Smith
The most proven W. Eugene Smith quotes that are glad to read
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.
Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavors.
I think photojournalism is documentary photography with a purpose.
What use having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling?
The journalistic photographer can have no other than a personal approach;
and it is impossible for him to be completely objective. Honest—yes. Objective—no.
Available light is any damn light that is available!
...and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future - causing them caution and remembrance and realization.
I've never made any picture, good or bad, without paying for it in emotional turmoil.
I am constantly torn between the attitude of the conscientious journalist who is a recorder and interpreter of the facts and of the creative artist who often is necessarily at poetic odds with the literal facts.
I would that my photographs might be, not the coverage of a news event, but an indictment of war.
The first word I would remove from the folklore of journalism is the word objective.
Many claim I am a photographer of tragedy.
In the greater sense I am not, for though I often photograph where the tragic emotion is present, the result is almost invariably affirmative.
Negatives are the notebooks, the jottings, the false starts, the whims, the poor drafts, and the good draft but never the completed version of the work The print and a proper one is the only completed photograph, whether it is specifically shaded for reproduction, or for a museum wall.
With considerable soul searching, that to the utmost of my ability, I have let truth be the prejudice.
... to became neighbours and friends instead of journalists. This is the way to make your finest photographs.
I would that my photographs might be, not the coverage of a news event, but an indictment of war - the brutal corrupting viciousness of its doing to the minds and bodies of men; and, that my photographs might be a powerful emotional catalyst to the reasoning which would help this vile and criminal stupidity from beginning again.
My pictures are complex and so am I.
My camera, my intentions stopped no man from falling.
Nor did they aid him after he had fallen. It could be said that photographs be damned for they bind no wounds. Yet, I reasoned, if my photographs could cause compassionate horror within the viewer, they might also prod the conscience of that viewer into taking action.
Up to and including the moment of exposure, the photographer is working in an undeniably subjective way. By his choice of technical approach, by the selection of the subject matterand by his decision as to the exact cinematic instant of exposure, he is blending the variables of interpretation into an emotional whole.
I am an idealist. I often feel I would like to be an artist in an ivory tower. Yet it is imperative that I speak to people, so I must desert that ivory tower. To do this, I am a journalist - a photojournalist. But I am always torn between the attitude of the journalist, who is a recorder of facts, and the artist, who is often necessarily at odds with the facts. My principle concern is for honesty, above all honesty with myself.
An artist must be ruthlessly selfish.
I can’t stand these damn shows on museum walls with neat little frames, where you look at the images as if they were pieces of art. I want them to be pieces of life!
I didn’t write the rules. Why would I follow them?
Most photographers seem to operate with a pane of glass between themselves and their subjects. They just can't get inside and know the subject.
The photographer must bear the responsibility for his work and its effect …[for] photographic journalism, because of its tremendous audience reached by publications using it, has more influence on public thinking than any other branch of photography.
You can't photograph if you're not in love.
In music I still prefer the minor key, and in printing I like the light coming from the dark. I like pictures that surmount the darkness, and many of my photographs are that way. It is the way I see photographically. For practical reasons, I think it looks better in print too.
My pictures are complex and so am I. When I am almost symbolistic in writing, there is a more limiting difference’s of accepting, while I can be even more complex in the photographs and people can usually accept them within the framework of their own limitations or lack of limitations – there is no dictionary meaning… they can look up for the photographic image and allow it to confuse them.
The purpose of all art is to cause a deep and emotion, also one that is entertaining or pleasing. Out of the depth and entertainment comes value.
I try to take what voice I have and I give it to those who don’t have one at all.
Hardening of the categories causes art disease.
What's the best type of light? Why that would be available light.
.. and by available light I mean any damn light is available.
If I can get them to think, get them to feel, get them to see, then I've done about all that I can as a teacher.
My photographs at best hold only a small length, but through them I would suggest and criticize and illuminate and try to give compassionate understanding.