It seems to me that there’s a moment when you press the shutter release on the camera when the person you are, the person holding the camera, says yes. Every time you take a picture, you’re saying yes to what you see. There should be a degree of consciousness about who you are in the world at that moment, a kind of integrated consciousness. It’s not blind luck, so if one can find what it is that makes you conscious, what gives you the pleasure of being alive at that moment, I feel that is what leads you to your own identity. Because in the long run, your individual identity will be revealed by the strength of the photographs you make in one year, ten years, 15 years—there’s a string. They’re like little jewels on the string and they carry all the messages that you were excited by when the world spoke to you. I think that’s what happens and I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself. Somehow you have that gasp come over you—you think, Oh, oh, now! You raise the camera and maybe the thing has gone by now or maybe it’s just unfolding in front of you and you intercept it at the right moment. That right moment is your moment of being conscious. So I would say to young artists that are beginning, try to understand when you’re fully conscious and accept your identity being awakened by the world around you. If you listen to that, you’ll have a singular vision—it will be your vision.
Just look at life with more playful eyes. Don’t be serious. Seriousness becomes like a blindness. Don’t pretend to be a thinker, a philosopher. Just simply be a human being. The whole world is showering its joy on you in so many ways, but if you are too serious, you cannot open your heart.
There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in raptures it will writhe before you.
Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.
Vincent van Gogh