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MINOR WHITE


[1908 – 1976] American artist photographer

...a very receptive state of mind...not unlike a sheet of film itself - seemingly inert, yet so sensitive that a fraction of a second's exposure conceives a life in it. - Minor White, More Joy of Photography by Eastman Kodak (Editor)
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No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen. - Minor White

Let the subject generate its own photographs. Become a camera. - Minor White

I am always mentally photographing everything as practice. - Minor White

...innocence of eye has a quality of its own. It means to see as a child sees, with freshness and acknowledgment of the wonder; it also means to see as an adult sees who has gone full circle and once again sees as a child - with freshness and an even deeper sense of wonder. - Minor White

The state of mind of a photographer while creating is a blank...For those who would equate "blank" with a kind of static emptiness, I must explain that this is a special kind of blank. It is a very active state of mind really, a very receptive state of mind, ready at an instant to grasp an image, yet with no image pre-formed in it at any time. We should note that the lack of a pre-formed pattern or preconceived idea of how anything ought to look is essential to this blank condition. Such a state of mind is not unlike a sheet of film itself - seemingly inert, yet so sensitive that a fraction of a second's exposure conceives a life in it. (Not just life, but "a" life). - Minor White, The Camera Mind and Eye

Vision without association - pristine vision. - Minor White

As I become more in harmony with the world around, through, and in me, the varieties of time weave together. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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So help me find opportunities which offer friends unclosed photographs which will present them a chance to close circles out of their roundness. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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When I looked at things for what they are I was fool enough to persist in my folly and found that each photograph was a mirror of my Self. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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Here, have some more lettuce, it's organic, you know. - Minor White - Minor White's usual advice to his students.

...all photographs are selfportraits. - Minor White, Documentary Photography - LIFE Library of Photography , Page: 231

Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence. - Minor White - from William Neill in the Outdoor Photographer Magazine, article entitled "Landscapes for my Spirit" 1997

While we cannot describe its appearance (the equivalent), we can define its function. When a photograph functions as an Equivalent we can say that at that moment, and for that person the photograph acts as a symbol or plays the role of a metaphor for something that is beyond the subject photographed. - Minor White - From "Equivalence: The Perennial Trend" PSA Journal Spring 1963

One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are. - Minor White

There's no particular class of photograph that I think is any better than any other class. I'm always and forever looking for the image that has spirit! I don't give a damn how it got made. - Minor White, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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I have often photographed when I am not in tune with nature but the photographs look as if I had been. So I conclude that something in nature says, 'Come and take my photograph.' So I do, regardless of how I feel. - Minor White, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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Sometimes we work so fast that we don't really understand what's going on in front of the camera. We just kind of sense that, 'Oh my God, it's significant!' and photograph impulsively while trying to get the exposure right. Exposure occupies my mind while intuition frames the images. - Minor White, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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When gifts are given to me through my camera, I accept them graciously. - Minor White, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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In putting images together I become active, and excitement is of another order – synthesis overshadows analysis. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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Camera and eye are together a time machine with which the mind and human being can do the same kind of violence to time and space as dreams. - Minor White

Often while traveling with a camera we arrive just as the sun slips over the horizon of a moment, too late to expose film, only time enough to expose our hearts. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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To engage a sequence we keep in mind the photographs on either side of the one in our eye. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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I seek out places where it can happen more readily, such as deserts or mountains or solitary areas, or by myself with a seashell, and while I'm there get into states of mind where I'm more open than usual. I'm waiting, I'm listening. I go to those places and get myself ready through meditation. Through being quiet and willing to wait, I can begin to see the inner man and the essence of the subject in front of me... Watching the way the current moves a blade of grass - sometimes I've seen that happen and it has just turned me inside out. - Minor White, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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Very often I try to find something that matches a feeling I have. On the other hand, a lot of times I photograph with nothing specific in mind. I just play it as it comes. If it's good, fine. I find 'letting it happen' relaxing, a playful vacation. Stimulating pictures almost always result. - Minor White, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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Photographers who come up with power never get accused of imitating anyone else even though they photograph the same broom, same street, same portraits. - Minor White, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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This unexpected image was the record of an inner state that I did not remember seeing and he did not remember experiencing at the moment of exposure. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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Creativity with portraits involves the invocation of a state of rapport when only a camera stands between two people...mutual vulnerability and mutual trust. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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A sequence of photographs is like a cinema of stills. The time and space between photographs is filled by the beholder, first of all from himself, then from what he can read in the implications of design, the suggestions springing from treatment, and any symbolism that might grow from within the subject itself. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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Before he has seen the whole, how unusually perceptive and imaginative the person must be to evolve the entire sequence by meditating on its single, pair, or triplet of essential images. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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Sequences originate for me from some hidden place. Though I habitually play photographs against each other, or words against images in pairs, triplets, or rows of four with expectations of magic, sequences originate from within. And I prefer to let them. In fact I cannot seriously do otherwise than photograph on impulse and let whatever words will, flow spontaneously. - Minor White

It is curious that I always want to group things, a series of sonnets, a series of photographs; whatever rationalizations appear, they orginate in urges that are rarely satisfied with single images. - Minor White, Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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Different levels of photography require different levels of understanding and skill. A “press the button, let George do the rest” photographer needs little or no technical knowledge of photography. A zone system photographer takes more responsibility. He visualizes before he presses the button, and afterwards calibrates for predictable print values. - Minor White - [Minor White, Richard Zakia, Peter Lorenz “The New Zone System Manual”, Morgan & Morgan, Inc., Dobbs Ferry, New York 1978 (Fourth printing), p. 93]

Some of the young photographers today enter photography where I leave off. My “grandchildren” astound me. What I worked for they seem to be born with. So I wonder where Their affirmations of Spirit will lead. My wish for them is that their unfolding proceeds to fullness of Spirit, however astonishing or anguished their lives. - Minor White - [cited (as motto) in: Minor White, Richard Zakia, Peter Lorenz “The New Zone System Manual”, Morgan & Morgan, Inc., Dobbs Ferry, New York 1978 (Fourth printing)] , Mirrors, messages, manifestations by Minor White
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The photographer projects himself into everything he sees, identifying himself with everything in order to know it and to feel it better. - Minor White, On Photography by Susan Sontag , ISBN: 0385267061 , Page: 116
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When I look at pictures I have made, I have forgotten what I saw in front of the camera and respond only to what I am seeing in the photographs. - Minor White, 1000 Photo Icons by Anthony Bannon (Foreword), George Eastman House , ISBN: 3822820970 , Page: 640
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We emphasized the creativeness that happens at the moment of seeing over the kind that takes place in the dark room. - Minor White

Reaching a 'creative' state of mind thru positive action is considered preferable to waiting for 'inspiration'. - Minor White

The development of a love of medium and a responsibility for one's own pictures is an overall goal. - Minor White

Photography is a language more universal than words. - Minor White

At first glance a photograph can inform us. At second glance it can reach us. - Minor White

Students were taught by doing. - Minor White

We could teach photography as a way to make a living, and best of all, somehow to get students to experience for themselves photography as a way of life. - Minor White

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