non photographic influence
What influences us to make photographs has always been an interesting question to me. I suppose we have all been motivated to create images by viewing the work of other photographers. I think the major visual influence for me has come from a non photographer. A commercial illustrator named Richard Powers. I discovered his work in the '50s and I'm still intrigued by it. Do my photos reflect this influence? Yes.Does this bother me? no. Has anyone else been driven to create photographs because of non photographic influences. Music? Literature? Is this influence seen in your work?
I was interested in history long before I got interested in photography, and I will go photograph various historical places. New England is full of them. More a documentary effort than an artistic one. For example, I'll photograph places related to King Philip's War (1676), e.g., the site where Mary Rowlandson's (google for her name!) house was, or the foundations of a "garrison house", or
"Redemption Rock" where Rowlandson was ransomed.
I photographed the front of the old Meeting House at a Shaker village (the building is now privately owned) from an angle that matched a photograph from about 1911 showing several Shaker women in the front yard. The tree in front was recognizably the same (same branch structure).
Also, I'm a sucker for such photography. James Frassanito wrote books where he would look at Civil War photographs of battlefields (Antietam and Gettysburg), and attempt to make a modern photograph at the same place, same angle.
Enough - I'm looking forward to the answers of others....
"I bought a new camera. It's so advanced you don't even need it." - Steven Wright
I too have a history passion that affects my subject matter. I also have recently studied design concepts with a painter whos vision has changed my photography. I think that our life experiences have a great deal of impact on the way we see the world around us, and therefore also affect our photography.
where have you been? been missing you and worried something was up.
My mother was a student of the German painter Emil Holzhauer. I grew up with his paintings, and when I look at my landscapes/urbanscapes, I see a lot of his influence - such asthis one and this one - particularly the angles of view.
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In elementary school I was fascinated with birds, which taught me how to see subtle field markings in order to make identifications, or put another way, to become visually observant of details at a young age. Early in high school I started to draw and paint birds, and I started to tag along with my older sister on day hikes in the mountains.
Sometime around grade nine my parents let me take their old 35mm camera on overnight hikes by myself, even during winter, into the surrounding forests and moutains where I live. The slides I brought back were empty husks compared to how the things and places I photographed had made me feel inside. Wanting to learn how to take better slides started the ball rolling. When I graduated, I just knew I was going to be an ARTIST with a camera and sell to galleries...thing is...I'd never heard of Karsh, Adams, Weston, Strand, etc, etc, etc, as Canada had no real history of photography as a fine art back then (1978) that I was aware of. It just wasn't on the National cultural radar.
When I later went to college for fine arts (to improve my photography) is when I learned of the LF B&W Masters and their work. So I happened upon this all by myself I guess, because of how much those early slides didn't communicate how the scenes made me feel.
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
Novelist, poets, films (and film makers) and various artists (their writings as well as their art)...
Just a few
William Carlos Williams
I've often wondered why so many fine art photographers have spent a portion of their lives practicing to be, or, actually working as professional musicians (Adams, Caponigro, Bullock, Witherill, Les McLean, albeit as a rocker rather than a classicist....and many, many others.) Since that's what I do, and since I've loved photography since childhood I suppose I'm also in that vortex, but I've never tried to fully articulate why the one would influence the other. Both require discipline, constant practice, critical self-evaluation, and draw sustenance from a host of other internal engines. But, what informs me with the greatest energy is the emotional excitement and stimulation I get from each. As a re-creative musician, I can reliably count on a known piece of music to bring that about if I perform it well. As a creative photographer, the path is totally uncertain until the work is finished. Music is temporal and public; photography is concrete and private until I choose to make it public. Both offer tremendous satisfactions. I still have no reliable and certain answers, but I think I'm in tune with the general principles....and they're wonderful fuel for invigorating what life force I've been granted.
Last edited by jovo; 08-02-2006 at 08:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I would guess for me that it would fall on the interest and love of the out of doors, nature, geology, and biology. These are also the areas of my education, so it seemed appropriate to be interested in recording and bringing home the experiences.