Category: Quotes

Most People Have No Idea How Beautiful The World Is

Sheep at sunrise bathed in golden light

And so it is that most people have no idea how beautiful the world is and how much magnificence is revealed in the tiniest things, in some flower, in a stone, in tree bark, or in a birch leaf. The grown-ups, going about their business and worries, and tormenting themselves with all kinds of details, gradually lose the perspective for these riches that children, when they are attentive and good, soon notice and love with their whole heart. And yet the greatest beauty would be achieved if everyone remained in this regard always like attentive and good children, simple and pious in sensitivities, and if people did not lose the capacity for taking pleasure as intensely in a birch leaf or a peacock’s feather or the wing of a hooded crow as in a mighty mountain or a splendid palace. What is small is not small in itself, just as that which is great is not—great. A great and eternal beauty passes through the whole world, and it is distributed fairly over that which is small and that which is large; for in such important and essential matters, no injustice is to be found on earth.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926) was an Austrian poet and novelist.

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Creativity vs. Art

White vase with purple lilac

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

Scott Adams (1957-) is an American author and cartoonist.

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Photography Takes an Instant Out of Time

Black and white photo of a group of people standing in front of the clock at the Orsay Museum in Paris, France

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange
(1895 – 1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist. She is best known for her work for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression.

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Creative Work Needs Solitude

Close up of sea

Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart – to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet popular for her brief and poignant poems exploring the links between nature and the spiritual world.

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A Great Photograph

Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus)

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams
 (1902-1984), American landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West.

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The Earth Is Art

Kangaroo Island kangaroos

“The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.”

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Yann Arthus-Bertrand (b. 1946) is a French environmentalist, activist, journalist and photographer.

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A Reality So Subtle

In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.

Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz (1864 – 1946) was an American photographer and founder of the controversial movement Photo-Secession that promoted photography as a fine art.

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The Man of Faith Steps In and Does Something

Close up of a sunflower

“I tell you, if one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie, and you said yourself in the past that it was a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity…

You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter, “You can’t do anything.” The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “You can’t.”

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas. But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something...”

The Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) on taking action, from Ever Yours: The Essential Letters

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Having an Enviable Career Is One Thing. Being a Happy Person Is Another.

Cherry Tree in Bloom

(…) having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Bill Watterson (b. 1959 -) is an American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Watterson talked about the difference between ambition and happiness in his speech ‘Some thoughts on the real world by one who glimpsed it and fled’, Kenyon College – 1990

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It Is an Illusion That Photos Are Made With the Camera

Close up of a dark forest in black and white

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 – 2004) was a French photographer considered a master of candid street photography.

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