Literature influencing your photography
Thought it would be interesting to ask a question about the relationship between literature and your photography. I've always been very influenced by writing in my approach to photography, perhaps more than anything else.
The following books and witers have helped me consider my approach to my landscape photography, particularly because they build up 'layers' of perception about specific places over a lifetime. All of these writers have a very particular geographic context, and over the course of a lifetime their work has added to the meanings of the places they write and care about.
-‘The Poems of Norman MacCaig’
-‘Aotromachd – Lightness and other poems’ by Meg Bateman
-‘Connemmara – Listening to the Wind’ by Tim Robinson
Anybody else have any books / writers that have influenced their photography?
i have always been a big fan of ee cummings and dr seus.
they both had a way with presenting images, imagined or otherwise ...
For me one was what Elliot Porter did in Glen Canyon, before they damned it up to create Lake Powell.
A colorful pristine river refuge in "red rock country" was transformed into a vast swimming pool for boaters, and of course, golf courses in Phoenix.
I've captured a few images there, but always wished I could have experienced it before the change, and the way he saw it.
Good thread. One of the most significant for me is 'A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful', Edmund Burke (Pub Routledge & Regan Paul, London 1958, orig published by Burke 1757).
Still find inspiration in it.
Not true literature. Like many photographers my influences are other photography books. For example: Landscape Within By David Ward is one of my current favorites.
Check out his blog
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I once did a series of images inspired by an English Renaissance play, "Gallathea", by John Lyly, a contemporary of Shakespeare's, and Her Majesty's court playwright. The story of Gallathea is a bit too convoluted to retell here, but it had to do with issues of intentional and accidental blurring of gender, gender roles, and attraction. I've also done a series based on greek mythology, which I've posted here to the gallery. I'm heavily inspired by classical and Renaissance art and literature - Greek and Roman mythology, the Tarot cards, paintings by the Italian masters (DaVinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio).
Books on the history & ecology of an area I'm photographing help me to look for patterns in the otherwise chaotic clutter. For Florida, first person accounts such as William Bartram's Travels, or ecological studies such as Marjory Douglas Everglades-River of Grass.
As far as inspiration, books by Robert Adams & John Szarkowski stimulate my visual thinking; while those by Sontag, John Berger & others challenge my motivations. I don't seem to have time for novels anymore (degree in literature ;-( even though they can be helpful in understanding an area.
A red covered book I found in the library at my junior high school. The book was no larger that 4" x 5" and was about a guy named George who wanted to take better photographs. It would show a dull snapshot of a relative with a tree branch coming out of the head. Then it would show a photograph with the position changed so that the tree did not come out of the head and the camera moved in to crop the photograph. It went on to discuss backgrounds, cropping before taking the photograph, lining up the viewfinder so the photo was not tilted, basic composing, use of diagonals, having a moving bike rider coming at an angle toward the photographer rather than from the side, ...
It would give an example of a bad snapshot and several greatly improved photographs. Even the "dreaded ducks in a line" of everyone at Virginia beach, followed by the same people in different bathing suits in a different order at Ocean City. This was followed by much better arrangements of the two groups.
In less then 100 pages I learned a lot about composition and photography. Too bad I cannot remember the name of the book.
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
I think Eliot Porter's On Walden Pond with excerpts from Thoreau's poetry had a big influence on me.