“ Be interested in photography history. The more you understand it, the more you will understand yourself... "
I photograph weddings, but I'm not a wedding photographer. I guess I started to photograph weddings as a way to make some money so I could work on other projects. I never imagined that weddings would actually become my project.
How important is study and culture for you?
A study into the history of photography, I believe, is the most important aspect of becoming a photographer. Only by understanding what is can we understand where we are. History gives us perspective.
How much time do you spend on viewing images of past and contemporary author?
I used to spend most of my waking hours buried in a photography book, much less now. Although I'm intrigued by the photograph I'm more interested in the philosophy of the photographer, about why they made it.
What would you recommend to a young photographer who wants to build his own vision and wants to grow his own cultural baggage?
Be interested in photography history. The more you understand it, the more you will understand yourself. Your photographs will become the form that follows the function of your study and practice, it won't be aesthetically driven, it will be yours. That can take a long time, sometimes a lifetime.
What photographers have most influenced you or that you've looked at (and keep doing) with greater admiration ?
There are many, but to name only a few: Martin Parr - When I started out in photography I just didn't understand what he was doing. It wasn't the sharp, shallow depth of field, shiny bright images that I was told photography was. Only when I started to understand photography did understand Parr's work. I've been hooked ever since, he'a a comedy genius. Elliot Erwitt - An interesting, unassuming, funny and incredibly compassionate photographer. Julius Shulman - "The key to my work is that I stopped, physically, to observe something. I raised my camera and recorded my observations" Mark Cohen - Just doing his own thing. William Eggleston - Another photographer I didn't understand, until I started to understand what photography was. And many, many more - Gary Winorand, Eve Arnold, Ezra Stoller, Joel Meyerowitz, Jula Margaret Cameron, Nacho Lopez,....... It's bit like asking what music I like, I could go on for days and I'd probably still miss a few out. Let's just say that I'm interested in photography and influences and admiration are mostly transient.
Tell me about your photo library :) You would name me at least 5 titles that would strongly suggest or are jealously guarded on your bedside table.
The New History of Photography - Michel Frizot A book that attempts to explain the, 'Why'. Essential reading. Martin Parr - The Last Resort (Or absolutely anything else) Colin Westerbeck & Joel Meyerowitz - Bystander: A History of Street Photography Larry Fink - On Composition Nick Offerman - Paddle you own Canoe Lessons about life, about not being a dick, and about putting in the work. Mark Rothko - The Artist's Reality, Philosophises of Art. Inspiration is often found in disciplines other than photography. Photography isn't art, the artist makes it so.