Who has influenced me?

Yesterday I set myself the task of answering the question: who has influenced me as a photographer?

I’m not one for producing lists. I find it impossible to rank things when they are based on different grounds. And if I do manage to rank them, I quickly change my mind. But sometimes it is instructive to ask yourself ‘what or who influences you?’

So here is my short reasoned list, not all photographers, in no particular order.

John Ruskin

For his legacy in the arts and crafts movement. For his understanding that there is such a thing as the ‘sympathy of things’.

Raymond Moore

For his years spent in photography’s wilderness, unrecognised but persistent.

Tony Ray-Jones

His ironic gaze at the British social class system is something to behold.

Robert Adams

There is something refreshingly simple and direct about the photographs of Robert Adams. Today, we call his style ‘straight’, that is less ‘expressive’ than many photographers around today. In my opinion this simplicity and directness is a strength.

Robert Adams is known as a maker of testaments, that is photographs that serve as evidence of a specified fact or event. He wasn’t one to over-romanticize a situation before him.

Thomas Joshua Cooper

His sense of ‘place’.

Sally Mann

Well, what can you say about Sally Mann that has not already been said? Her expressive photography using traditional printing techniques, particularly Wet Colloidon, has much to admire.

John McDowell

For his deep philosophical work on the Kantian theme of representation.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

My father introduced me to the work of HCB in the 1960s. I have fond memories of going through his photographs with my Dad, who was a keen photographer. HCB is the main reason why I got into photography in the first place. The surreal quality of his vision still enthralls me.

Frederick H. Evans

For his study of English cathedrals using platinotype. His photograph ‘Durham Cathedral, Across the Nave’, 1912, is hauntingly beautiful.

Eugène Atget

For living out as a ‘Flâneur’. For the mood imparted by many of his photographs.

Cormac McArthy

For “All the Pretty Horses”. My vote for outstanding literature.

Lee Friedlander

He could really ‘see’.

Brian Carey Goodwin

Brian was at the forefront of bringing theoretical and mathematical biology to the fore. His wisdom and humility struck a deep chord in me when, as one of his students, I struggled to understand his ideas. A great thinker and courageous in putting up arguments against naive readings of Neo-Darwinism, his influence on me was profound.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

There is always something new to learn from his ‘Philosophical Investigations’, perhaps one of the greatest philosophy books ever written.

For some of my favourite photographers by other photographers see my pinterest account.

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