One of our great presidents John Quincy Adams once wrote that if you're a leader, your actions will inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. Those simple words speak to the leadership that has been shown by great creatives who have inspired me in my journey as a professional photographer. Although I'd hesitate to cite any well-known photographer as my primary inspiration, I admire the works of several preeminent photographic artists including Dorothea Lange, Richard Avedon, and Ansel Adams.
"While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see." - Dorothea Lange
One of my favorite photographs is Migrant Mother captured in 1936 by Dorothea Lange on her visit to a migrant worker's campsite. My admiration for Lange as a photographer is based on the compelling aesthetic quality of her work but also, and more importantly, on the fact that her photography helped the public better understand the plight of the desperately poor and almost forgotten migrant farmer during the days of the Great Depression.
"Some photographers take reality...and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation." - Ansel Adams
Although it may be trite for me to cite Ansel Adams as a personal favorite, there is no denying that Adams was a photographers' photographer. Adams' groundbreaking work in the darkroom, in the business of photography, as well as his advanced working in defining photography technique is legendary. Since I've also visited and photographed the Yosemite Valley, the Grand Canyon, and locations Adams made famous, I've come to have a deeper and closer appreciation for the works of this grand master of photography. My favorite Ansel Adams photograph is Clearing Winter Storm taken in Yosemite National Park c. 1942. When I view his work, I felt humbled as a photographer.
"I've worked out of a series of no's. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no's force me to the "yes." I have a white background. I have the person I'm interested in and the thing that happens between us." - Richard Avedon
The reason why I admire the work of Richard Avedon is based on his technical and artistic expertise as a portraitist. I feel Avedon's greatest strength lies in his ability to capture expressive portraits using consistent lighting and framing in generally simplistic settings. In Avedon's images, because of his photographic style, his images consistently leap to life. His portraits are so much more than a captured moment in time; they're raw emotion.
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