Susan Meiselas, she has been with Magnum for several years and I was fortunate enough to meet her back in college.
Mary Ellen Mark
Imogen Cunningham's botanical pictures
My Favorites are ....
Barbara Morgan, as one not yet mentioned.
Not necessarily an inspiration nor do I think in terms of male or female photographers.
Our local Museum of Photography has a few of her originals.
They always impress me.
Matt's Photo Site
"I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin
Gerda Taro and Berenice Abbott as nobody makes justice for them, there are a bunch of [very] interesting others, like those of f64 group, but also it's so difficult to find monographies about them.
BTW I'm surprised how many of you name some more or less actual people which surely won't resist the incoming tide of time, althought this is only a personal opinion, so it has little to do with personal inspiration, and I do not want making meat of it. Just a random thought.
Last edited by Muihlinn; 06-12-2007 at 01:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: because I can :)
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QUESTION: How do these women influence your own photography?
QUESTION: How does the work from these women influence your own photography?
Last edited by Nicole; 06-12-2007 at 02:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I also chime in on Mary Ellen Mark, Diane Arbus, and Susan Meiselas, whose book "Carnival Strippers" is a modern classic and equal in importance to D. Lyon's "The Bikeriders".
Certainly among the greats, as yet not mentioned:
Cristina Garcia Rodero, (Magnum Photos member nominee, 2005, I believe the only Spaniard). Like Meiselas, she published a seminal work in the beginning of her career--in this case "España oculta"/"Hidden Spain"--and then went on to document a broad range of events and places.
These two, less well known, but certainly worth a look:
Graciela Iturbide, who studied for a time with Alvarez-Bravo, very good.
Lee Miller (also mentioned above), one-time Man Ray assistant, who also amassed an impressive body of work of her own.
Having just now seen Nicole's question, let me just say that these women have influenced me as have any other photographers: on the basis of their work, regardless of gender.
As a sidenote, and at the risk of stating the obvious, let it also be said that for a certain type of documentary work (e.g. Mark in "Falkland Road", Meislas in "Carnival Strippers" and Rodero, as per her own confession, in many hostile situations), being a woman is not only an advantage but also absolutely essential.
Last edited by foto-r3; 06-12-2007 at 02:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I listed women who had directly inspired my photography, rather than women such as Susan Meiselas who are inspirational at all levels, but who have not had much effect on the way I take pictures. I also have a different relationship to canonical classics like Lee Miller or Imogen Cunningham, and they tend to lurk in the background of my visual culture rather than having a direct influence on my own work. Like the men who inspire me, the women tend to be contemporary and I don't worry to much about whether they will pass time's test as well as my own.
Susan Derges' work is original, thoughtful, conceptual, and beautiful. It's a rare combination, and a highly personal one. She inspires me because she dares to follow her own muse and not follow the crowd, and yet is able to persuade others that the path she has taken was well-worth the walk, if only they had been able to see it.
Sally Gall, Rachel Brown and Lyn Davis all have a way of mixing formal composition with informal subject matter and/or subtle variations in texture that mirrors what I am trying to do in my own photography. They have investigated problems related to those I am struggling with myself, and although their particular solutions might not be directly applicable to my own case, it is inspiring to know that solutions can be found.
Cig Harvey has a wonderful sense of colour. I have a low tolerance for the Francesca Woodman school of adolescent introspection, but every now and then I come across photographs which defy my dislike. Harvey's humour and wit help a lot, but I am mostly attracted to her palette and the way the colours in her photos work together at a level beyond the ordinary.
Sonja Thomsen's 'Surface' and 'Churn' series work for me on a similar level, although they are less likable images and you have to be more willing to think of her photographs as ways of putting tones on paper, and not windows onto a thing worth seeing.
Like all Dads with cameras I photograph my kids. Sally Mann's look is a bit too feral to impose on my brood, but I like her lack of sentimentality and her insights into the mental life of her children. Another photographer I came across recently who made me think was Jocelyn Lee: her 'Childrens' Games' series is well worth a look.
PS: all my examples have websites and unique enough names that they turn up in Google with little effort.
PPS: Oh, and another favourite who deserves a plug: Sirkka-Liisa Kontinnen.
Last edited by Struan Gray; 06-12-2007 at 03:02 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The first three I mentioned, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gertrude Kasebier, and Chansonetta Stanley Emmons, I admire for their work made with such a new medium.
Kasebeier and Emmons made images that revolved around marriage, children and family.... my personal favorite subject for the moment. I refer to their work a lot through a couple of out of print books, as they are both hard to find on the web. I think Kasebier felt somewhat constricted within her own marriage, and as a mother. Her feelings on the matter are pretty clear in the photographs. She was a photographer very much of her time in terms of technique, which was very painterly, but she had a modern sensibility the way women (and men) should live within the context of family life. Her sitters look engaged, and full of life. Kasebier I supect, was very engaged in her art, and found the mores and expectations of her time difficult to reconcile with her own passions.
Emmons was a young widow, and she recorded images of rural life in Maine. She photographed the farmers shucking corn, widows in their kitchens, children walking to school, and she did it eloquently. It's a rare body of work that is an amazing, and rather rare document to early 20th c. rural life in the U.S.
Cameron... I admire her ability to put a pair of wings on a child, and make a poignant image, that doesn't sentimentalize that child or become too cute. It's such a cliche image, now, and plenty of children's portrait photographers put these adorable little wings on their subjects, and it somehow takes away from WHO that child really is. Heck... if I were to do that, I'd probably end up with an over sappy, and way too "cute" portrait! With that said, I do find some of her tableaux of biblical stories with, say, three models a little forced.
Another from my list... Helen Levitt... what can I say? No one has managed to capture the exuberance and physical pleasure and pain of childhood quite as well as she has. Not to mention... her unique view of the incredible bustle that are the streets of NYC.
And to answer your question, Nicole.. I'm not interested in copying these women photographers, but I aspire to make photographs that move me, as I've been moved by theirs, and I hope to bring the same level of passion and commitment to my work as they brought to theirs.
I have a several more names on my list, and if I get a minute later, today, I will add a few thoughts on some of them
Last edited by SuzanneR; 06-12-2007 at 06:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Written with insomnia brain... needed clarity... and lots of it!
Margrethe Mather was actually a superior photographer to Edward Weston when they met in 1912. Til the end of his life, Weston always described her as, "the first important woman in my life." She was the teacher and he the student in the mid teens of the 20th century. Mather was also the only partner Weston ever had and the only photogrpaher to co-sign a print with Edward.
Originally Posted by jimgalli
Mather basically stopped photographing by 1930. A great deal was due to her failing health. So as Edward's career was advancing hers stopped.
My personal selection for women photographers is Bernice Abbott. In fact, I consider Bernice overall the best photographer of the 20th century man or woman rivaled only by Alfred Stieglitz. For Bernice was the complete photographert. She was a portraitist, a documentarian, a scientific photographer and also inventor of photographic equipment. She was also a very early photo historian who saved the life work of Atget. No other photographer except Alfred Stieglitz was more diversified and accomplished in so many areas as was Bernice Abbott.