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  1. #11
    Curt's Avatar
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    Wm. Blake, R.W. Emerson, H.D. Thoreau, Currently the Oxford Book of English Verse which I found just recently, it covers 1250 to 1900 and is a first edition. I have a collection of first editions. I would put Robert Burns at the top of the list, anyone heard "Auld Lang Syne"? I had a grandfather from Scotland. Know any McCumber's?
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  2. #12
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Franz Kafka, Mervyn Peake, Herman Hesse, Homer, Kipling, Rachel Carson, Yi fu Tuan, John Berger, Barrie Trinder . . . . . To name afew.

    Ian

  3. #13
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    Some interesting choices so far.

    Can folk be a bit more specific about how these books have influenced their photography though?

    Cheers,
    Gavin
    Last edited by coigach; 09-18-2007 at 05:23 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: forgot something - have had no coffee yet this morning...!

  4. #14
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Barrie Trinder - "The Making of the Industrial Landscape" (Britain) - I'm an Industrial Archaeologist as well as a Photographer and predominantly shoot industrial landscapes.

    Yi fu Tuan - "Topophilia", & "Space and Place" -A Chines Geographer who specialises in Topography and the use of land, connections between physical environment and human beings.

    John Berger - "Ways of Seeing", & "Another Way of Telling", also "And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos" ways of looking at and approaching images.

    Rachel Carson - "Silent Spring" Environmental issues.

    Franz Kafka - Stories which invert the obvious.

    Homer - "The Illyad" & "The Odyssey" a lasting influence and curiosity to explore the past

    Hesse, Peake, Kipling more general infuences.

    Ian

  5. #15
    Struan Gray's Avatar
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    For a long time I wanted to be the photographic equivalent of literary travellers like Bruce Chatwin, Eric Newby, Jonathan Raban or (minus the huge green ticks on my gonads) Redmond O'Hanlon.

    These days I tend to draw inspiration from literary style rather than subject. A relatively recent discovery was W. S. Sebald, particularly "The Rings of Saturn". I love the way he uses slow accumulation of detail to form a whole, his inclusive and unsentimental tastes, and the combination of a contemplative pace with acute observation.

    Another writer who has meant a lot to my photography is the botanist Oliver Rackham. He inspired me to try and learn how to read the structure of the landscape and how it relates to history, and that of the people who lived there. I have reached that age when the sight of a hawthorn growing on an iron age embankment is somehow tremendously reassuring. A patch of bluebells in an open field induces a sense of loss. A redwood surrounded by upstart ashes and alders is a sign of hope.

    I have also recently been reading a lot of classic physics. Original research papers by Maxwell, Rayleigh, and Helmholtz, as well as my well-thumbed copies of the Feynman Lectures on Physics. I don't expect many APUGers to rush to their library and join me, but there are strong arguments there for an informed botanising: for traversing the world with my eyes open and my intellect engaged. For not allowing other people to set the agenda of my interests.

  6. #16

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    Literature had always been a central interest and part of my life, and in so much as it has influenced me and made me what I am, (I suppose? though what comes first?) then it has influenced my photography. I can't think of one single work of literature that has directly influenced my pictures though. Sometimes after taking certain photos, and especially when reading what some authors have to say about their own creative process, then I draw connections.

  7. #17
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    I wish I would be focused enough in my work to have influences to identify, especially literary ones. After all, I am about to have the grade of MA in literature...

    I could more readily cite pictorial influences, but that's obvious. What has perhaps structured my thinking would be poets: Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine. Those three have a strong sense of the concise image, strong impression, and the ability to sidestep predictable ways of writing.

    For a while I was writing a lot of poetry, and did the local readings scene, but my interest eventually waned. Still, what I kept from doing that was the necessity to listen to your brain when it worked in ways you don't immediately understand. I try to recreate that inner feeling when I photograph, and try to connect between what I see and what's working below the surface.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  8. #18
    Black Dog's Avatar
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    To see a world in a grain of sand...

    Quote Originally Posted by catem View Post
    Literature had always been a central interest and part of my life, and in so much as it has influenced me and made me what I am, (I suppose? though what comes first?) then it has influenced my photography. I can't think of one single work of literature that has directly influenced my pictures though. Sometimes after taking certain photos, and especially when reading what some authors have to say about their own creative process, then I draw connections.
    Me too....though Annie Dillard (Teaching A Stone To Talk & Pilgrim At Tinker Creek), Aldo Leopold (A Sand Country Almanac), Peter Matthiesen (The Tree Where man was Born, Snow Leopard) ,William Blake, Basho,the Romantic poets,and many others have certainly inspired me (landscape was and remains my favourite subject)...anyone with a sense of wonder really.
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  9. #19
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    My photography (and my writing) have been mostly influenced by writers who impart a richness and strangeness on the world that runs far deeper than what's literally there.

    A good example is a short story called The Adulterous Woman by Albert Camus (found in Exile and the Kingdom) where a woman who is completely stifled by boredom runs out and stands under the night sky in the desert, just giving herself this moment of life as the sky almost comes alive for her. It's almost like it takes place beneath Van Gogh's stars -- they're dynamic.

    Other examples for me include the haunting, funny, and strange works by Haruki Murakami (especially A Wild Sheep Chase and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle), Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow), Hesse (Steppenwolf), Borges (Babel's Library), and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude).

    A different theme that influences me are writers who are able to convey the darkness and intensity of people, and in some cases the unusual connections that people have. Among these are Dostoyevsky (everything he's ever written), Yukio Mishima (especially the Sea of Fertility -- perhaps the greatest thing I've ever read), Mesa Selimovic (Death and the Dervish), and James Joyce (Ulysses).

    These influence my photography because I walk out there into the world trying to look through it. I force myself to look past what I can easily see, and think of what I can't see that looms there. It's like I'm looking for myself in a scene, not looking for the scene itself. I'm less concerned with literal truth than I am with a scene's evocative power, and how I can bring that out.

    But with few exceptions, I can't say that literature directly and unambiguously guides my hand. It's more accurate to say that it gives me a feeling, a perspective, and a vision that I translate to my own craft.

    I can imagine, though, that if I were more of a street photographer, Naguib Mahfouz would make me want to evoke the back alleys in Cairo, or Dostoyevsky would make me want to evoke the squalor in the St. Petersburg Haymarket. But their influence is not so literal on me -- which is what makes them great (and makes me very suggestible).
    Paul

  10. #20
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    Can folk be a bit more specific about how these books have influenced their photography though?

    Reading leads me out of the work-a-day world and into a frame of mind that leads to creativity.

    http://www.anniedillard.com/curriculum-vitae.html

    Annie Dillard won the Pulitzer for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek when I was finishing my BS at Western, it was a fantastic time were creativity appeared to have no limits.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

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