7 Timeless Lessons From the Masters of Photography

Learn From the Masters: Mobile Edition

Dear friend, if you haven’t heard the exciting news already– MASTERS is now available as both a digital and print edition! To promote the book, here are some practical lessons I learned from the masters:

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Inspirational ideas from the masters of photography

Learn From the Masters Book: First Edition


Here are my favorite lessons from the masters of photography:

1. Capture what you feel

Cindy. Tokyo, 2018
Cindy. Tokyo, 2018

“For me, capturing what I feel with my body is more important than the 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.” – DAIDO MORIYAMA

Don’t just shoot with your eyes; shoot with your body, soul, and your entire being.

2. Photograph people

Taxi man sleeping. Tokyo, 2018
Taxi man sleeping. Tokyo, 2018

“Shooting people is more beautiful, because it is more difficult.” – CONSTANTINE MANOS

There is nothing more challenging than photographing people (street photography).

3. Channel your emotions into your photos

Macro mode. Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017
Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017

“I’m always trying to channel those personal emotions into my work. That is very different from a lot of documentary photographers who want to depict the city more objectively. For me it is very personal – it’s about what is inside me. I don’t think about what other people will make of it. I shoot for myself.” – TRENT PARKE

Photography shouldn’t be objective; photography should be subjective — meaning, you show your own subjective reality through your photos.

4. Keep working a project until it is fully-exhausted

SUITS project by ERIC KIM
SUITS project by ERIC KIM

“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion… the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate. […] Photographers stop photographing a subject too soon before they have exhausted the possibilities.” – DOROTHEA LANGE

When working on a photo project, remember– you can always push your subject-matter further. Keep working your project, and fully-extract the maximum from that subject-matter.

5. All photos are accurate; none of them are truth

Mad men. NYC, 2018
Mad men. NYC, 2018

“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is truth.” – RICHARD AVEDON

All the photos you shoot are of your own subjective perspective of the world. A photograph will 100% accurately depict the photons/light of a scene, but how you shoot it, and which moment you decide to publish is of your subjective reality.

6. Photography is documenting humanity!

Man on beach. Marseille, 2013
Man on beach. Marseille, 2013

“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.” – ELLIOTT ERWITT

Photography isn’t just pretty photos; it is about documenting the human condition — and it is all about you to show your own opinion about humanity.

7. Stay an amateur photographer until you die.

Chain and neck tattoo. Tokyo, 2018
Chain and neck tattoo. Tokyo, 2018

“I am an amateur and intend to remain one my whole life long. I attribute to photography the task of recording the real nature of things, their interior, their life. The photographer’s art is a continuous discovery, which requires patience and time. A photograph draws its beauty from the truth with which it’s marked.” – ANDRE KERTESZ

Andre Kertesz was well into his 90’s, continuing and starting new photography projects. If you shoot like a child for your entire life (like a beginner/amateur) — you will always find inspiration/motivation to shoot your entire life.



Learn From the Masters: Mobile Edition

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Timeless wisdom from the masters of street photography.

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Start here:

  1. Why Study the Masters of Photography?
  2. Great Female Master Photographers
  3. Cheat Sheet of the Masters of Photography
  4. 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
  5. Beginner’s Guide to the Masters of Street Photography
  6. Download All Articles >

The Masters of Photography

Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Classics never die:

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