PDA

View Full Version : The Inspiration Thread



Pages : 1 [2] 3

df cardwell
05-22-2008, 08:26 PM
P.H. Emerson photographed the Norfolk Broads in the late 19th century,
documenting the changing way of life, and the individuals who lived there.

He was a pre-Modernist if for no other reason
than he didn't take pictures of his friends dressed up as peasants,
he photographed real people, like this young boy,
with empathy and understanding.

Henry Peach Robinson and the art establishment despised him
because he didn't play by the social rules.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3241/2514450267_70b8885774_o.jpg

Young Boy Fishing

Louis Nargi
05-22-2008, 10:17 PM
great post

DannL
05-23-2008, 12:11 AM
I find it quite interesting how my inspiration comes from portrait photographers who's craftsmanship differs vastly from many of those photographers previously mentioned. That being the case, I find it all the more necessary to provide several samples of portraits from my personal collection. I'm sure the scanned images will speak for themselves.

The first is a scan from an original portrait by the famous photographer James E. Purdy of Boston Mass, or one of his skilled employees. If there was a famous person living at the turn of the century, J. E. Purdy's studio most likely made a portrait of that person. This portrait is that of Dorothy Stanley Emmons 1910, daughter of Chansonetta Stanley Emmons who was sister to the Stanley Steamer Brothers. Chansonetta was a famous photographer in her own right, and her brothers owned and sold their dry plate business to Kodak in order to finance the building of automobiles.

The second scan is of a portrait by H. T. Koshiba or possibly by an assistant named Oki Seizo, circa 1900. H. T. Koshiba was the family photographer to John D. Rockefeller & family for nearly a half century. Japanese-American, he maintained the Koshiba Studio, 546 Fifth Avenue, New York.

Published article on J. E. Purdy of Boston (http://books.google.com/books?id=IJAYAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA132&dq=J.+E.+Purdy+camera&lr=&as_brr=1)
Published article on H. T. Koshiba - Japanese Photographer (http://books.google.com/books?id=eSMEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA247&dq=H.+Koshiba&lr=&as_brr=1)
H. T. Koshiba in The Rockfeller Archive Center Newsletter - see page 5 (http://archive.rockefeller.edu/publications/newsletter/nl2000.pdf)
Published article on Oki Seizo (http://books.google.com/books?id=lrAEAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA519-IA2&dq=koshiba+photographer+studio&lr=#PRA1-PA519-IA2,M1)

These images represent the skills of portraiture and printing I hope to achieve. Enjoy!

PVia
05-23-2008, 02:02 AM
Irving Penn does it for me...

2F/2F
05-23-2008, 02:12 AM
Also of note is that Hoppe was one of the very first, if not the THE first high-end portrait photographer to use the Leica. The year after the camera was released, he used it to photograph King George and Queen Mary of England. He shot them in natural light using the camera. Very odd for the time, and most portrait photographers would have called it crazy.

www.eohoppe.com has some biographical info and lots of pix.

catem
05-23-2008, 03:34 AM
I find it quite interesting how my inspiration comes from portrait photographers who's craftsmanship differs vastly from many of those photographers previously mentioned. That being the case, I find it all the more necessary to provide several samples of portraits from my personal collection. I'm sure the scanned images will speak for themselves.


Yes, they do. I think also it's interesting how the word "inspiration" itself seems to have fallen out of use in the arts - as if it's a bit old-fashioned or touchy-feely, for today's market, or as if it suggests over-nfluence. I think this holds for writers I know as well as photographers (of course, it's not a blanket rule).

Maybe I should say what "inspiration" means to me, as I started the thread. It is not about emulation, or wanting-to-be, (though that can be a part of it) but literally about 'drawing in breath' - about seeing some sort of connection (of course this will vary from individual to individual) that makes me think - that's what it's all about, and that's what makes it all worthwhile. I can very definitely get this feeling, and appreciation, from a very wide range of photographic styles (and genres) including ones that I could never see myself following. Visiting the work of photographers who have this connection to me, or for me, can and does definitely serve to revitalise my own creative spirit when it becomes low.

My choices for this thread would be very wide - and I'm enjoying all those posted so far.. So please do continue posting all different styles - this could become a real "treasure trove".

I'm thinking Julia Margaret Cameron should be here - our (the U.K.'s ) Grande Dame of Portrait photography. I always find her "inspiring" not least because she took her first photograph at the age of 48. don - or anyone - how do you post complete images into links rather than thumbnail attachments? Will come back later and post some of her work, unless anyone beats me to it.

Is there any chance of this thread becoming a sticky ? :)

edit: have just seen Curt's 'Images in Posts' thread - will try later!

Curt
05-23-2008, 03:39 AM
Arnold Newman

http://images.artnet.com/artwork_images_376_208581_arnold-newman.jpg

John Bragg
05-23-2008, 03:47 AM
The wonderful work of Frank Meadow Sutcliffe

http://www.sutcliffe-gallery.co.uk/cgi-bin/brands/PEOP/1134673046.jpg

Kvistgaard
05-23-2008, 03:51 AM
Hi all,
a portraitist who has inspired me quite a bit is the Scot Robin Gillanders, whose book "The Photographic Portrait" (http://www.amazon.com/Photographic-Portrait-techniques-strategies-portraits/dp/0715316524) was a real eye opener for me in its demonstration that the boundaries for portraiture are very wide indeed. Good blend of formal and more informal portraits, and I can't recommend this book enough. Strangely, Gillanders does not seem to be very well represented on www.

Cate: Thanks for starting this thread. Much needed :-)

Struan Gray
05-23-2008, 04:13 AM
I have been trying to think of colour examples which are not paintings or drawings.

I have a soft spot for Eggelston's woman on a swing (http://www.masters-of-photography.com/E/eggleston/eggleston_woman_on_swing_full.html). There is now a whole industry of derived contemporary portrature by adolescents of all ages (I photograph my friends and my grandmother, but - eeeeewww - not my parents).

Madame Yevonde's more theatrical portraits leave me cold, but some of her private commissions have hit home with a strenght that surprises me. See here (http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/portrait.asp?search=ss&sText=yevonde&LinkID=mp06547&rNo=17&role=art), here (http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/portrait.asp?search=ss&sText=yevonde&LinkID=mp06547&rNo=39&role=art) and here (http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/portrait.asp?search=ss&sText=yevonde&LinkID=mp06547&rNo=41&role=art) for examples. I don't *think* it's just the colour palette.

catem
05-23-2008, 05:53 AM
I'd like to see more colour here, too, but just to add a couple more b&W-

Julia Margaret Cameron
this link (http://www.npg.org.uk/live/pubcamer.asp) contains one of my favourites of hers.

Below, portrait of an unknown woman - called The Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty, June 1866, albumen print from collodion negative, 1t has a very contemporary feel to me, within her style, which was very much of the time.

catem
05-23-2008, 05:58 AM
Chris Killip
Newcastle upon Tyne (UK), 1980

Tony Egan
05-23-2008, 06:10 AM
One of the favourites in my collection of photo books is County Fair Portraits by Mikkel Aaland. A selection of images from thousands taken at County Fairs along the West Coast of the US from 1976-80. It's a great study of how people positions themselves in front of a camera and how they would like to see themselves captured with little or no direction from the photographer - the authentic personalities seem to shine through. I have included a PDF of the introduction to the book below which is a fascinating explanation of the photographic process - quite the antithesis of the 'fine art' technical processes which abound on APUG.

Out of curiosity I just googled Mikkel Aaland and see that he is the author of numerous digital technique books and promoter of Lightroom. Well, I have some sympathy that after spending 5 years slogging away behind a 5x4 at county fairs he might want to relax in comfort in front of a computer screen for a while!

Struan Gray
05-23-2008, 06:35 AM
This seems surprisingly modern, and has the mix of artful and artless that I personally find inspirational:

http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/ppmsca/12000/12040v.jpg

Details here: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?ils:75:./temp/~pp_2mqq::@@@mdb=fsaall,app,brum,detr,swann,look,g ottscho,pan,horyd,genthe,var,cai,cd,hh,yan,bbcards ,lomax,ils,prok,brhc,nclc,matpc,iucpub,tgmi,lamb

df cardwell
05-23-2008, 07:13 AM
When I reflect upon "Inspiration",
I become aware of first causes,
of the formative thing that caused me
to respond by making pictures of people.
So, I guess, when I'm thinking about photographic inspiration,
it's not the style of the photographer,
but a shared inspiration.

As a boy, on a farm, when Life Magazine came it was a big event.
Halsman pictures were the first images I became aware of
beyond my little world.

As a young man setting off in the photographic world
I was fortunate to meet both Ansel and Halsman,
they both inspired me. Ansel, to think about how I made pictures,
and the possibibility that a conventionally
unskilled person as myself might find a way in photography
to express myself. Philippe Halsman talked to me about making pictures,
of how he responded to the SUBJECT, and how the picture came to be.

Adams, how to let the Visualisation of the Image come from within ME,
Halsman, to find the Inspiration from the Subject.

Later, writing about Emerson, I discovered the importance a photograph might have
years after it was made, how Emerson was speaking to me long after he had died.

And I realised in a quiet sort of way,
that there was a PICTURE that had inspired me,
that expressed both the lesson from Halsman and Emerson,
and that Adams had been right indeed, that photography could reveal to me,
a way to express the things which were compelling.


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3027/2515364755_869904f2bf_o.jpg

I was in love with this picture as a child,
at some young age I learned she was my Great Grand Mother .
About the time I met Halsman, I began to spend time with our family historian,
who loved the picture too. And she showed me a picture of my Mom,
at the same age, and I saw that she was the living image of her Grandmother.
Somehow, the child recognized the image of his mother,
and the temporal paradox was gratifying.

Today, I trust to intuition when I make a portrait,
intent only to connect -sometime in the future-
with an unkown viewer who might see the picture.

The 'message in a bottle' school, I suppose.

(there are lots of photographers who have shaped
how I make pictures, how I work with light, and print,
but WHY I make portraits ? Here it is.)

DannL
05-23-2008, 11:28 AM
. . . I think also it's interesting how the word "inspiration" itself seems to have fallen out of use in the arts - as if it's a bit old-fashioned or touchy-feely, for today's market, or as if it suggests over-nfluence. I think this holds for writers I know as well as photographers (of course, it's not a blanket rule). . .

I might add that my inspiration for posting to this thread was inspired by my desire to inspire others to be better photographers. And all this in light of the fact that I am "the mediocre photographer". Of course I receive little to nothing in the way of tangible rewards for posting here, but your reply to my comment was inspiring enough. In other words, I was driven by a feeling to a specific action. As far as being inspired by a photographic portrait simply for the likeness of the person portrayed in the photograph, I can't say that has ever happened to me. A portrait of Picasso has never driven me to paint, even though I enjoy painting in abstract. If I am inspired, I am almost always inspired to "do" something, take an action, or say something. Just food for thought, and not meant to derail this excellent thread.

If not already mentioned . . . Mathew B. Brady (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathew_Brady) was an important figure in early portraiture. Sample Images (http://www.civilwar.si.edu/brady_thumbnails.html)

I really like how Cardwell put it . . . The 'message in a bottle' school, I suppose. If I have not misinterpreted the meaning . . . I think how clearly we as photographers transmit that message is of the utmost importance. I also think that likenesses created under the auspices of photojournalism are closer in relationship to snapshots than they are to being portraits. That should warm things up a bit. :D

catem
05-23-2008, 11:42 AM
Dan, when I saw the quote I had to check my own post - when I say 'today's market' I don't mean 'the art market' or any such, more 'the market-place of life'. :) Not quite sure why I used that word, or maybe it just looks odd to me quoted back. Not sure about 'nfluence' either ...

But, to move on..."a message in a bottle" - yes, I like that very much also, that is the great power of photography - what keeps us looking back to the past as well as to the future.

For me the power of family photographs is very strong also - I guess that's what started a lot of us off.... and also (though to a much lesser or different extent) for me the orphans, the postcards and snaps of strangers discarded and ending up in junk shops, when there's no family left who cares, but you are free to take them up...
it's about what can be revealed; what makes you remember what it's all about. And to join in all that - be a part of it yourself, leaving messages for the future - it's a wonderful thought, and a powerful one.

As for the snapshots v. portraits question, I'll skate neatly by that one for now :D

naeroscatu
05-23-2008, 12:56 PM
"a message in a bottle" - yes, I like that very much also, that is the great power of photography - what keeps us looking back to the past as well as to the future.

For me the power of family photographs is very strong also - I guess that's what started a lot of us off....

Excellent thread, thank you. I was just thinking recently to do something along this line, like some one said here, get out of the contemplative stage and take action, follow my gut feeling, shoot some portraits. What I have in mind is to start with family portraits and when the time comes move on to a broader project. I will submit soon for critique my first family portait taken with a 58 old camera, light measured with a 58 year old light meter - natural light. I hope it will not dissapoint; at least I will learn few things so I can improve. Yes, definitely very inspirational thread.

c6h6o3
05-23-2008, 02:49 PM
If not already mentioned . . . Mathew B. Brady (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathew_Brady) was an important figure in early portraiture. Sample Images (http://www.civilwar.si.edu/brady_thumbnails.html)



You can see these images at the National Portrait Gallery. I believe they're on permanent display. They're modern albumen prints from Brady's Studio's negatives and superbly printed. They're also very small (quarter plate, maybe?) but I think that actually adds to their charm. If you're around here go see 'em. You'll love 'em.

c6h6o3
05-23-2008, 02:56 PM
http://www.geh.org/ne/mismi3/m198130600001_ful.html#topofimage