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.
For his legacy in the arts and crafts movement. For his understanding that there is such a thing as the ‘sympathy of things’.
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.
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.
For his deep philosophical work on the Kantian theme of representation.
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.
For living out as a ‘Flâneur’. For the mood imparted by many of his photographs.
For “All the Pretty Horses”. My vote for outstanding literature.
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.