Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I was recently presenting my Recreating Vision and Emotion program to a local camera club when a member of the audience asked me which photographers influenced my work.  My immediate response was to reel off a number of the well known masters (giants) of photography – both historical and contemporary.  While it is true that in my downtime I study their work in the many books, journals and magazines I have accumulated over the years, the simple fact is that they are not the photographers that I interface with on a daily basis.  Instead, the almost daily interaction I have with my photography friends influences my work more than any one or combination of the masters.  In our casual discussions I learn about their lives and when looking at their work I see how they replicate their experiences in their images – whether or not they do this consciously is immaterial.  Similarly, although I do not consider myself a technical photographer, whenever I do have a technical question, I don’t turn to the writings of Ansel Adams for the answer, but to my friends.

Therefore, although there isn’t anything wrong aspiring towards the well known masters of photography, whose names roll easily off the tongue, I would like to thank my many friends for allowing me to stand on their shoulders every once in a while to see what they are seeing, to learn about their lives and understand how they use photography as their voice.  I can learn more from each of you after just a few minutes of discussion than I possibly could from spending hours, days, weeks or even months studying any text book or monograph.  You all know who you are and, to me, you are all the true giants in photography.

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5 comments

  1. Thanks Chuck. It’s all too easy to not see whats truly important. BTW, I owe you a response to your email.

  2. So true Arthur. If pushed, I would have to say all of my learning has come from my photography friends or contemporary photographers. Some like Chuck happen to be modern masters, but most are great photographers just like you who inspire me to master my craft. So, thank you for being one of those friends who inspires.

  3. Interesting blog post. Everybody knows who Ansel Adams is. Even non photographers. And we all enjoy his B&W images and they are inspiring. But what inspired me the most and has pushed me to become better is seeing the images from my friends at the camera club. Especially your work Arthur. You’ve been a huge inspiration in many aspects of my photography.

  4. Keep it up( bicycling), and you will be lean and mean Don….

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