Tag Archives: Photography Quotes

“In•tu•i•tion guides the photographer’s inner light” ~Cheryl Machat Dorskind

Cheryl Machat Dorskind Self PortraitIn•tu•i•tion

by Cheryl Machat Dorskind

© 2012 All Rights Reserved

In•tu•i•tion — The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning (Webster’s Dictionary). Intuition guides the photographer: Where to look, How to frame, What to see is the photographer’s internal, intuitive dialogue.

I am re-reading Britt Salvesen’s wonderful book, Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work and thinking about intuition, a conversation I began last week in  my blog series, “Friday Quote.”

Harry Callahan was self taught and known as the “regular guy.” He was also a devoted and beloved teacher. His work ethic was pronounced and laced with intuition. Britt Salvesen sums up three prerequisites for intuition: openness, freedom, and curiosity which are maintained with effort, discipline, and patience. Callahan’s intuitive love for his wife Eleanor and daughter Barbara are reflected in the renown photographic series he created of them.

Self Portrait with Nicole: Tripod, self-timer, Tri-x film, Silver Gelatin (darkroom) print, Ilford Matte fiber paper enhanced with washes of oil paint

Intuitively,  I knew this was going to be a great moment with my daughter Nicole.

Happy Mother’s Day,


Posted in Friday quote, Friday Quote: Intuition, History of Photography, Inspiration, Photography, photography quotes, photography quotes | Also tagged , , , Leave a comment

Friday Quote: Intuition – A Sixth Sense


by Cheryl Machat Dorskind

Intuition: Some call it a “sixth sense,” an “urge” a “feeling”, “knowing,” “pulling,” “drawing” us to pay attention, to create.


iphone series Roger's Beach

© 2012 Cheryl Machat Dorskind iPhone sketch: I was at the beach the other day. Walking, talking, all the while snapping sketches of views I will come back to.

Harry Callahan, one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century, was also a devoted photo instructor, chairing the photography department at Rhode Island School of Design from 1961-1973 (and continued teaching until retiring in 1977). I wish I had known him.

Harry Callahan spoke often of intuition in relation to his work. “Once we recognize a potential photograph, we begin to “see” in our mind the image that will convey the visual-emotional experience of the subject to the maximum degree—that is we visualize an image.  Our visualization starts with the subject but takes into account the characteristic of the medium itself and of the specific equipment and materials we are using.”

“I know that, for instance, if I want to photograph on the beach or something, then I’ll walk around the beach and all of a sudden I see something. And then that’s the beginning to start working on something, and then maybe I’ll photograph that and walk down farther and find something very similar, and then keep working on that sort of a little theme, whatever it might be. And then the next time I go to the beach I might say, “well I want to go back and do that.”

~Harry Callahan
The Photographer at Work

Happy Friday,

PS My May online photo classes begin this weekend. Sign-up today and join me for a four weeks of photo inspiration to jump start your intuition:

All About Color

Photographing Children:Rising to the Challenge

Painting Photos

Posted in Friday Quote: Intuition, History of Photography, Inspiration, Photography, Photography Books, photography quotes | Also tagged , , , Leave a comment

Friday Quote: Truth ?¿? “The power lies with undeniable reality? ~Arnold Newman

Cheryl Machat Dorskindwww.cherylmachatdorskind.com

From the blog series: Friday Quote: Truth ?¿?

“The power of photography lies with the power of undeniable reality of the image…What is real about the medium of Photography? Photography is very unreal. You take a three dimensional world and reduce it to a two-dimensional world. You take color and reduce it to black-and-white. You take the world and life constantly moving within time, and reduce it to an instant moment. That’s not real. It is an illusion of reality. There are many things that are very false about photography when it is accepted without question. You must recognize this and interpret it as you would any other art form, and then maybe it is a little more than real.”

Arnold Newman
Interviews with Master Photographers
James Danziger and Barnaby Conrad III

Arnold Newman offers a treasure of wisdom and inspiration. He dedicated much of his life to photo education.

As Newman remarks, photography plays with the notion of time. Time can be on our side.
Make the most of your time and have a great weekend,

Posted in Friday quote, History of Photography, Inspiration, Photography, Photography Books, photography quotes | Also tagged , , Leave a comment

Friday Quote: Truth ?¿? “Photographs Furnish Evidence” ~Susan Sontag

Cheryl Machat Dorskindwww.cherylmachatdorskind.com

Friday Quote: Truth ?¿? “Photographers are always imposing…” ~Susan Sontag

“Photographs furnish evidence. Something we hear about, but doubt, seems proven when we’re shown a photograph of it. In one version of its utility, the camera record incriminates…In another version of its utility, the camera record justifies. A photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened. The picture may distort; but there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like what’s in the picture…While a painting or prose description can never be other than a narrowly selective interpretation, a photograph can be treated as a narrowly selective transparency…Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience…In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects. Although there is a sense in which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the work as paintings and drawings are.”

Susan Sontag
On Photography

A recent editorial in The New York Times Sunday Review (my favorite section) previewed a Susan Sontag sampler, a taste of what is to come in a new book of Sontag’s journals (1964-1890) edited by David Reiff (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/a-sontag-sampler.html).

Within the sampler, you’ll find a list of things Sontag likes:

“Ivory, sweaters, architectural drawings, urinating, pizza (the Roman bread), staying in hotels, paper clips, the color blue, leather belts, making lists, wagon-lits, paying bills, caves, watching ice-skating, asking questions, taking taxis, Benin art, green apples, office furniture, Jews, eucalyptus trees, penknives, aphorisms, hands.”

The last item on her dislike list is “taking photographs.” Surprising? She was after all Annie Leibovitz’s partner for fifteen years, but once you read On Photography, I suspect you’ll understand. Her posthumous collection of letters will be published April 10, 2012. Click here to pre-order.


Have a wonderful holiday weekend,



Posted in Books, Friday quote, History of Photography, Inspiration, Photography, photography quotes, Truth?⸮ | Also tagged , , , , 1 Comment

“As The Fog Rolls In My Vision Clears” ~Cheryl Machat Dorskind

© 2012 Cheryl Machat Dorskind


As The Fog Rolls In My Vision Clears


Cheryl Machat Dorskind

As the fog rolls in, my vision clears.

Its ethereal mist contrasts the ordinary and awakens my camera. Clicking away, I celebrate.

At f/22 (optimal for great depth of field), fog slows the shutter. I secure the camera on a tripod and set the ISO to 100 (fog is noisy). Fog has many nuances. Wanting accurate color, I shoot in RAW and set my white balance to “cloudy.” (Cloudy white balance counters the generally blue bias of fog and synchronizes all jpeg thumbnails).  With image stabilization (aka vibration reduction) off and manual focus on (fog impairs auto focusing), I rely on a shutter release cable (or a self timer) to eliminate camera shake.

Perhaps the only unromantic thing about fog (from the camera’s perspective) is the dampness. Consider weather gear.


© 2014 Cheryl Machat Dorskind


© 2014 Cheryl Machat Dorskind

Exposure is tricky because of fog’s reflective nature. Manual exposure mode is your best bet and bracket even if you are shooting RAW by one stop, plus or minus, so you have these exposures to suit your post processing mood.


© 2014 Cheryl Machat Dorskind

Notice how fog (gray) emphasizes green’s vibrancy. Try this: close your eyes, count to five and then look again. Do you see red? This phenomenon is known as simultaneous contrast.


© 2014 Cheryl Machat Dorskind


© 2014 Cheryl Machat Dorskind

© 2014 Cheryl Machat Dorskind “Self Portrait”: I like the fog so much, that sometimes I jump into the mist. Handpainted silver gelatin photograph.



Posted in Inspiration, Photography, photography quotes, Photography Tips | Also tagged , 4 Comments

Friday Quote: “Why hire a photographer?”


I was not surprised to see the cover of the New York Times Sunday Arts section (2/19/12) feature a rare non-costumed Cindy Sherman self-portrait for its lead article. And I thought, of course, “Why hire a photographer when she can photograph herself…best…as she wants to be seen?”

Once again Cindy Sherman makes front page art news in the New York Times Weekend Arts, today (2/24/12), but this time she is back in costume. Her exhibit at the MOMA is one not to be missed. Here are some Cindy Sherman Quotes:

On Characters

“None of the characters are me. They’re everything but me. If it seems too close to me, it’s rejected.”

“My work is not about fantasizing about characters or situations……When I’m doing the characters I really don’t feel it is something I’m building out of my fantasies, my dreams…”

On Makeup

“Sometimes I would play in my room out of curiosity to see what makeup can do. Sometimes become a character…”

The Photographer’s Quote

“I was good at copying things, but I didn’t really have ideas of what I wanted to do with painting. That was when I thought, ‘Why am I wasting my time elaborately copying things when I could use a camera?’”

Carol Vogel, NY Times (2/19/12)

On Hiring Models

“Whenever I tried to hire people or use friends or family, even if I paid them, I felt like I had to entertain them. When I’m working alone, I can push myself. And I don’t complain.”

Carol Vogel, NY Times (2/19/12)

From the Critics

“The contradictory and complex readings of her work reinforce its ongoing relevance to multiple audiences. More than ever, identity is malleable and fluid and her photographs confirm this.”

Ms. Respini (NY Times 2/19/2012)

Her exhibition at MOMA will be on view through June11, 2012

Posted in Art Exhibits, Friday quote, History of Photography, Photography, photography quotes | Also tagged , , Leave a comment

I made many, many mistakes and learned


“Andre Kertesz has two qualities which are essential for a great photographer: an insatiable curiosity about life and a precise sense of form.”

Born in Hungry in 1894, Kertesz was self taught. When asked what interested him most, he replied, “Everything….The camera is a sketchbook…I made many many mistakes and learned…Everything I did was exactly composed…The camera is my tool. Through it I give a reason to everything around me.”

1983 BBC Series

Posted in Friday quote, History of Photography, Inspiration, Photography, photography quotes | Also tagged , Leave a comment

Friday Quote: Eggleston’s democratic camera explores “only one”


According to Alan Yentob (Creative Director BBC, Producer, “Imagine” – the attached video clip)  William Eggleston “dragged color — kicking and screaming into the world of art photography.”

Born in 1939 in Sumner, Mississippi – Eggleston continues his work in what he describes as  “banal and everyday.”

“I do have a personal discipline of only taking one picture of one thing, not two. I would take more than one and get so confused later and trying to figure out which is the best frame. I decided that was ridiculous and I was only going to take one frame.”

His great influence was Henri Cartier Bresson; “When you break down the frame, it had inherent geometry.” 

According to the Whitney Museum of American Art, “by not censoring, rarely editing, and always photographing, Eggleston convinces us of the idea of the democratic camera. His work is psychologically complex and casually refined, bordering on kitsch and never conventionally beautiful.” (http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/WilliamEggleston)

Posted in Friday quote, History of Photography, Inspiration, Photography | Also tagged , , Leave a comment

The photographer watches and waits

_MG_2943 copy.jpg6_tips__MG_295.jpgdorskind_chld_02.jpgdorskind_chld_04.jpgdorskind_chld_05.jpgdorskind_chld_10.jpgdorskind_chld_11.jpgdorskind_chld_12.jpgdorskind_chld_13.jpgdorskind_chld_14.jpg
“The photographer watches and waits”


“Photographing children requires total attention to their state of mind—a state that changes constantly from smiles to tears to wonder. These glimpses of magic slowly unveil, but illusively disappear the moment the photographer tries to capture them. Like an audience engrossed in the subtle character shifts of an actor, the photographer watches the child and waits for cues. “

~Cheryl Machat Dorskind
From my book, The Art of Photographing Children








Join me for my online class, “Photographing Children: Rising to the Challenge”
Class begins this weekend!

Posted in Books, Children Photography, Friday quote, Photography | Also tagged , , Leave a comment

Friday Quote: “Perhaps every culture leaves markers for the future…”

“Perhaps every culture leaves markers for the future, a means of connecting the dots of linking the past to what is yet to come. The “frozen moment” of photography provides a possible answer to the problem of Heraclitus, that one cannot step into the same river twice. Perhaps one can look at the same photograph twice. Even though our thoughts and our memories change, we change, the perspective through which we look at the world changes, there is the thought that a photograph partially takes us outside of ourselves. That it gives us a glimpse—even though it may be only a two dimensional representation—of something real.”

Errol Morris
From the Book “Believing is Seeing”
(Observations on the Mysteries of Photography)

Wishing you a safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!


Posted in Books, Friday quote | Also tagged , , Leave a comment

Friday Quote


“What are the first sounds you hear in the morning, before you open your eyes? The loud insistent beep of an alarm clock? The voice of a news announcer or loud rock music on your radio? The “noise alarm” of a crying baby or honking horns and other traffic noise outside your window? Or are you one of the lucky ones who awakens to just the simple sounds of nature – wind rustling in the trees, a rushing brook, the singing of birds tuning up like an orchestra before the great symphony of your day?

The first moment of awakening is brief, but it’s important. What you hear influences your mood, alertness, energy level, and thus your behavior more directly and more profoundly than you may realize. Not only does each particular sound element create an impact, but the ratio of noise to organized sound, the layering of multiple sound sources and the combined decibel level of all the sounds that greet you can all have a dramatically positive or negative effect. The effect can linger. As with a bell struck by its clapper, the effects of these sounds can resonate throughout your day.”

Excerpt from the book
“Healing at the Speed of Sound: How What We Hear Transforms Our Brains and Our Lives”
By Don Campbell and Alex Doman

Music and art (of course, I include photography in this category) are interrelated on many levels.  Many speculate that Sir Isaac Newton distinguished seven colors of the visible light spectrum (yellow, orange, red, green, blue, violet, and indigo) to parallel the notes of the musical scale. (Nowadays, indigo, a hard to distinguish color, is often left off the list).

As photographers we paint with light. Starting your day with the right sounds will profoundly affect what you may or may not see, how you will see, and what you choose to leave in and out of the picture frame.

There are many artists and photographers who link music and art, music and light, music and taste, music and smell. Scientists call this synesthesia. I will be talking about these relationships in future blogs. Stay tuned and send me your comments.

Happy Friday!

Posted in Books, Color, Friday quote, Inspiration, Photography, photography quotes | Also tagged , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Friday Quote


English photographer, inventor and designer

On Portraiture…..

“Being photographed is a bit like being in the electric chair; nobody likes it. I think the only way you can learn about taking pictures is to be photographed yourself so you can see what an awful experience it is…

I like to direct my subjects and tell them exactly what to do. It is not always a matter of making people feel totally at ease. Often the only way that one can break through someone’s prepared face is to make them slightly uncomfortable, physically or mentally. Sometimes people can be awkward or ill at ease in a way that expresses themselves better than when they are relaxed.”


From the book “Snowdon Sittings”

Over the course of his career, Snowdon photographed almost anyone of importance in the art and fashion world. He was greatly influenced by Henri Cartier Bresson and Irving Penn.

Want to learn more about Lord Snowdon? Here is a video interview with Charlie Rose from 2001


Happy Friday,


Posted in Friday quote, Inspiration, Photography, photography quotes | Also tagged , , 1 Comment

Friday Quote

“I’ve said a million times that the best thing for a young photographer to do is to stay close to home. Start with your friends and family, the people who will put up with you. Discover what it means to be close to your work, to be intimate with a subject. Measure the difference between that and working with someone you don’t know as much about. Of course, there are many good photographs that have nothing to do with staying close to home and I guess what I’m saying, really, is that you should take pictures of something that has meaning for you.”

~Annie Leibovitz~


Many photographers begin their careers by photographing their families and friends. Perhaps this October weekend you’ll be inspired to photograph someone you love.

Happy Friday!

Cheryl Machat Dorskind







Posted in Friday quote, Photography | Also tagged , , Leave a comment