As individuals, we have many reasons for the knowledge we seek. For some, all that is desired is a pinch of motivation or a catalyst to tear down a mental block. For others, expanding their horizons creates enough satisfaction. Regardless of which path you have taken, we have curated a list of books, motion pictures, and quotes to help you on your personal journey.


Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.

Camus, Albert. The Rebel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1956.

Cartier Bresson, Henri. The Decisive Moment. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952.

Cassinelli, Luigi. The Photographer's Choice. Materia et Lumen, 2015.

Frankfurt, Harry G. On Bullshit. Princeton University Press, 2005.

Ghirri, Luigi. The Complete Essays 1973-1991. Mack, 2016.

Hoover, Stewart V. and Perry, Ronald F. Simulation, A Problem-Solving Approach. Addison-Wesley, 1989.

Johnson, Paul. Art: A New History. New York: Harper Collins, 2003.

Mitchell, William J. The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era. MIT Press, 1992.

McCullin, Don. Unreasonable Behaviour. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1992.

Mulas, Ugo. La Fotografia. Torino: Einaudi, 1973.

Newhall, Beaumont. The History of Photography. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1982.

Newton, Helmut. Work. Tachen, 2004.

Rovelli, Carlo. Reality Is Not What It Seems. New York: Riverhead Books, 2017.

Trachtenberg, Alan. Classic Essays on Photography. New Haven: Leete's Island Books, 1980.

Critical Thoughts

For example: in the morning, going to the set. I don't usually have clear ideas; I prefer getting there and finding that I have to resolve a certain situation, and then doing it in the way it feels, starting from a virginal point. [...]. What's important is who I am in the moment of shooting. That's where it becomes "autobiographical."

On the other hand, the past is a cadaver. Experience is a limited tool only. Also, it can make you sterile or distract you. I really believe that one must annihilate experience. Get free of it. Otherwise it lures you, ties your hands, makes you a victim of false promises. It robes you of that instinctiveness (sic) which to me is the most beautiful thing in human behavior.

Michelangelo Antonioni, A Love of Today: An Interview with Michelangelo Antonioni, by Gideon Bachman

Such are the two ways of the Photograph. The choice is mine: to subject its spectacle to the civilized code of perfect illusions, or to confront in it the wakening of intractable reality.

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida

It can never be the same, playing with blanks.

James Bond, from Irvin Kershner's Never Say Never Again

Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.

By the treatment that the artist imposes on reality, he declares the intensity of his rejection.

Whether it succumbs to the intoxication of abstraction and formal obscurantism, or whether it falls back on the whip of the crudest and most ingenious realism, modern art, in its semi-totality, is an art of tyrants and slaves, not of creators.

Albert Camus, The Rebel

There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them.

Richard Feynman

It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth--this indifference to how things really are--that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.

Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit

It has become fashionable in recent decades, not least among people who think of themselves as on the left, to deny that objective reality is accessible, since what we call 'facts' exist only as a function of prior concepts and problems formulated in terms of these. [...]. Any tendency to doubt this is 'positivism', and no term indicates a more comprehensive dismissal than this, unless it is empiricism. In short, I believe that without the distinction between what is and what is not so, there can be no history. Rome defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars, not the other way around. How we assemble and interpret our chosen sample of verifiable data [...] is another matter.

Eric Hobsbawm, On History

I think this is the age of fanaticism, in a way; I think fanaticism feeds upon itself and I loathe fanatics.

Robert Ludlum

Nothing has been retouched, nothing electronically altered. I photographed what I saw.

Helmut Newton

Ever bought a fake picture? [...]. The more you pay for it, the less inclined you are to doubt it.

George Smiley, from John Le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

No one questioned the appropriateness of calling the photograph a "picture."

Alan Trachtenberg, Classic Essays on Photography

Photography is a love affair with life.

Burk Uzzle, cited in Creative Camera International Year Book 1976

Motion Pictures

Il Generale Della Rovere, by Roberto Rossellini. © 1959, Zebra Film.

Contempt, by Jean-Luc Godard. © 1963, StudioCanal Image/Compagnia Cinematografica Champion.

Blow-Up, by Michelangelo Antonioni. © 1966, Turner Entertainment.

The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo. © 1966, Casbah Films.

Day for Night, by Francois Truffaut. © 1973, Les Films du Carrosse.

The French Lieutenant's Woman, by Karel Reisz. © 1981, Juniper Films.

War Photographer, by Christian Frei. © 2001, First Run Features.

William Eggleston Photographer by Reiner Holzemer. © 2008, Reiner Holzemer Film.