You can read the previous part of this essay here: Why Photography Matters – Essay Part 5

As you can see it has been over my seven day time span since my last post of this essay. Not completely unintentional but I knew this was going to be the last post on the subject of Why Photography Matters” at least for now.

I wish I could say there has been much insight and growth due to my willingness to dive into what is arguably a somewhat abstract subject. Truth is I don’t see photography as abstract but when certain questions arise they can present precariously difficult answers. An example of this would be on the order of “Why Love Matters”. Much can be said to justify this but words or depth dialog may do it very little justice. If experiences are the building blocks of life, communication may be akin to the mortar between the blocks.

What I can say and now share is this last month has been a time of learning. I can see just a little more clearly that to learn does not necessarily equate to knowledge gained but also an understanding that there is still knowledge yet to be gained. As with the phrase, “you just don’t know what you don’t know” seems to make all too evident. The only way to obtain new knowledge is to first seek out what you don’t know which in itself is a lifetime of personal explorations.

Here is what I would like to wrap these six essays up with. Thoughts and insights from respected artists, writers, and all around great thinkers of yesterday and today. I would recommend doing some more research into what makes photography meaningful to you. These essays are simply my attempt to bring more meaning to my own life and the world I live in.

  • “…to see we must forget the name of the things we are looking at.” – Claude Monet
  • “While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.” – Dorothea Lange“
  • Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you..while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” – John Muir“
  • My best work is almost unconscious and occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.” – Sam Abell
  • “Tug on anything at all and you ™ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.” – John Muir
  • “Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • “To take photographs means to recognize-simultaneously and within a fraction of a second-both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • “The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.” -Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • “When I’m ready to make a photograph, I think I quite obviously see in my minds eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the word. I’m interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without.” -Ansel Adams
  • “One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it..If we limit our vision to the real world, we will forever be fighting on the minus side of things, working only to make our photographs equal to what we see out there, but no better.” -Galen Rowell
  • “a photograph can at once be completely literal (as in some sense it must be) and yet entirely ambiguous” -Eric Fredine
  • “a mind too active is no mind at all” – Theodore Roethke
  • “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.” – Susan Sontag
  • “In fact, when I am out searching, I never have a set idea of what it is I’m looking for. I simply seek, occasionally finding exactly what it was I wasn’t seeking.” – Jeff T. Alu
  • “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.  I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” -Elliott Erwitt
  • “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty” – Albert Einstein
  • “Never forget that all the great photographs in history were made with more primitive camera equipment than you currently own.” – Brooks Jensen
  • “The outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio, but rather the complexity of the land organism. Only those who know the most about it can appreciate how little we know about it. The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: What good is it? If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of eons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering“. – Aldo Leopold
  • “I was so much older then, I am much younger now.” -Bob Dylan
  • “Adventure is not outside man, it is within.” – George Eliot
  • “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot
  • “In nature’s infinite book of secrecy, A little I can read” – Shakespeare, Antony, and Cleopatra
  • “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “To photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • “Awe is hard to put into words. But it certainly involves a sense of the mightiness and splendor and almost indecipherable intricacy of something greater than ourselves. A lot of religious mysticism arises directly from it. But it’s equally experienced by the secularist whose mind opens to the splendor and intricacy of the material universe.” —E.O. Wilson
  • “We must not be content to memorize the beautiful formulas of our illustrious predecessors.  Let us go out and study beautiful nature.” – Paul Cezanne
  • I’m a photographer because I don’t place too much value on photography. More precisely, I’m a photographer because I place the highest value on the experiences I seek, rather than their lesser by-products -images. -Guy Tal
  • “I always think that being a good photographer is less about knowing rules than knowing yourself. What I make of a subject comes from inside of me.” -Michael Levin
  • “If photography were difficult in the true sense – that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching – there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.” –Ansel Adams
  • “Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” – Albert Einstein
  • “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” -Carlos Castaneda
  • “Viewing photographs may not connect the viewer to the scene but it shows the viewer the photographer was connected to the scene.  In that since it tells us something about the maker. That they chose that place, that moment, that composition to expose, produce and preserve the evidence. Of all the moments of their life, all the clicks of the shutter, these are the ones the photographer has chosen to submit as evidence of their life. I try to remember that every time I look at a photographers work. Perhaps that is the best reason I can offer for the photographs. I hope they communicate something about life and the land, but if they only offer something about me, that will have to do.” -Brooks Jensens, Kokoro, ebook.
  • “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” -E. B. White

May your visual diary be all-encompassing with that which is life. Find those places that make memories and whenever possible, capture them with a photograph.

Waterfall at Chase County State Lake, Kansas Photography

© Brad Mangas