Ansel Adams in his own words - memorable quotes from the world's most famous landscape photographer

Photographer Ansel Adams stands with a large format camera on a tripod while photographing the Big Sur Coast near Carmel, California. |
Ansel Adam with his large format camera in 1981, at Big Sur Coast near Carmel, California (Image credit: Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images)

Ansel Adams is arguably the most famous landscape photographer ever. Born in 1902, his large-scale black-and-white prints now sell at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Best known for his images of the National Parks of California, Adams is not just remembered for his pictures. His approach to image-making has made him one of the most quoted photographers. He died in 1984, but he was famous in his own lifetime - and wrote influential books on the art of photography, including his three-part series, The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. So there are hundreds of great quotes from the master. Below we have picked out just 10 of the best…

1: "There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs"

2: "12 significant photographs in any one year is a good crop"

3: "A good photograph is knowing where to stand"

4: "Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment"

5: "You don’t take a photograph, you make it"

6: "A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into"

7: "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept"

8: "Some photographers take reality... and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation"

9: "My Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico has the emotion and the feeling that the experience of seeing the actual moonrise created in me, but it is not at all realistic… people have asked me why the sky is so dark, thinking exactly in terms of the literal. But the dark sky is how it felt"

10: "Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships"

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.