Blog #57 Under the Influence
I have a lot to be thankful for. My mother went to RISD was and still is a fine artist. She’s an abstract painter. My father, when he was alive, went to Parsons School of Design for mechanical drawing, then worked mostly in advertising and publishing, and could draw and illustrate with great craft and skill. In our home, there was art all around and the daily cartoons on my brown bag lunches through primary school gave me great joy and provides fond memories.
In high school, I took drawing and a black and white film photography course with my father’s Nikon F that started me on the path that I now continue to travel. A few years ago, after completing the Professional Course in Photography with the New York Institute of Photography, I continued my education through multiple means.
I have been to countless art and photography shows. In fact, the first thing I look for in any city that I visit is usually an art or photography show at the local museum. For some reason, I have developed an unquenchable thirst for viewing art and photographs.
Although I do enjoy a modest collection of film cameras, for the most part, I have switched from buying gear to buying photography books at every chance that I get. Here’s a partial list of the photographers whose books I own: Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Robert Frank, Saul Leiter, Daido Moriyama, Josef Koudelka, William Eggleston, Gary Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz, Alex Webb, Irving Penn, Bill Brandt, Takayuki Ogawa, Ralph Ellison, Alexey Titarenko, Nan Goldin, and Sam Abell. I read, and re-read these from time to time and cherish them like a hunter who mounts great busts upon the wall.
It’s a great time to be alive and to be a photographer. Online sources abound. From Ted Forbes’ The Art of Photography channel on YouTube to Digital Photography School , there are so many excellent sources of information that provide inspiration, technical knowledge, and amazing stories all about this medium that I love so much. Kai W keeps me equally as informed as much as entertained, while Eric Kim shares his invaluable philosophy, image making techniques, and fresh views on using social media rather than allowing social media use you.
Bellamy Hunt temps with his gorgeous vintage selection of the very best cameras and lenses on his Japan Camera Hunter site while Vishal Sonji provides a never ending cornucopia of film along side magical fountains of developer on Camera Film Photo. Accessible sites like Casual Photophile provide a steady stream of gear reviews, along with tips and techniques for beginners, hobbyist, and pros alike.
When I’m ready to print and frame, Jack and Jun at Photato are the guys to see. I just love their company name and they do some the best quality framing in town.
Anything and everything that I have accomplished or will accomplish as a photographer I owe to all of my influences past, present, and future. Indeed, I am reminded of the humble modesty of Sir Isaac Newton who stood on the shoulders of giants.
The trick is to never stop learning, never give up, and keep working to improve the craft.
One of my favourite quotes is:
“Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work” - Chuck Close.
The light is always right.