Aaron Siskind Quotes

Aaron Siskind (December 4, 1903 – February 8, 1991) was an American photographer widely considered to be closely involved with, if not a part of, the abstract expressionist movement. In his autobiography he wrote that he began his foray into photography when he received a camera for a wedding gift and began taking pictures on his honeymoon. He quickly realized the artistic potential this offered. He worked in both New York City and Chicago

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Aaron Siskind


I may be wrong, but the essential illustrative nature of most documentary photography, and the worship of the object per se, in our best nature photography, is not enough to satisfy the man of today, compounded as he is of Christ, Freud, and Marx.

Aaron Siskind


Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.

Aaron Siskind


Almost inevitably there are tensions in the picture, tensions between the outside world and the inside world. For me, a successful picture resolves these tensions without eliminating them.

Aaron Siskind


What is the subject matter of this apparently very personal world? It has been suggested that these shapes and images are underworld characters, the inhabitants of the vast common realm of memories that have gone down below the level of conscious control. It may be they are. The degree of emotional involvement and the amount of free association with the material being photographed would point in that direction.

Aaron Siskind


In any art, you don't know in advance what you want to say - it's revealed to you as you say it. That's the difference between art and illustration.

Aaron Siskind


For some reason or other there was in me the desire to see the world clean and fresh and alive, as primitive things are clean and fresh and alive. The so-called documentary picture left me wanting something.

Aaron Siskind


“We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect... but, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs.”

Aaron Siskind


“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

Aaron Siskind


As the language or vocabulary of photography has been extended, the emphasis of meaning has shifted, shifted from what the world looks like to what we feel about the world and what we want the world to mean.

Aaron Siskind


When I make a photograph I want it to be an altogether new object, complete and self-contained, whose basic condition is order (unlike the world of events and actions whose permanent condition is change and disorder).

Aaron Siskind


To me documentary photography means making a picture so that the viewer doesnâ??t think about the man who made the picture. At its esthetic core is very old tradition in art: naturalism. And its purpose is to document all facets of social relationships.

Aaron Siskind


If you look very intensely and slowly things will happen that you never dreamed of before.

Aaron Siskind


The only other things I got from the abstract expressionists is the absolute belief that this canvas is the complete total area of struggle, this is the arena, this is where the fight is taking place, the battle. Everybody believes that, but you have to really believe that and work that way.

Aaron Siskind


It is no longer a matter of expressing reality, but of expressing what one feels about reality.

Aaron Siskind


However, I must stress that my own interest is immediate and in the picture. What I am conscious of and what I feel is the picture I am making, the relation of that picture to others I have made and, more generally, its relation to others I have experienced.

Aaron Siskind