December 30, 2017

The most inspiring Masters of Photography

In the interviews, I always ask : "who are your favorite photographers, who are your inspirators ?". This simple question is interesting when you're really looking for the inspiring sources of inspired photographers, for this amazing "kick in the ass" of every vocation.

We all are influenced or pushed or pulled by somebody, each of us, and don't search for an exception ! In all human being life there is always someone to show you the way, "your" way. What we are born for, to make short. It's an universal rule and the basement of the Psychology.

That said, by reading again the interviews, I quickly noted that there was a palmares :

Helmut Newton
Man Ray

Richard Avedon
Albert Watson

Ansel Adams

Edward Weston
Jeanloup Sieff
Henri Cartier Bresson
Lucien Clergue...

After 102 interviews, I told to myself : " But who are these "masters" ? What did they do to have such a fan club ? " Here is the result of my investigations. And I must confess that I'm feeling better to know the inheritage of our wonderful and courageous pionneers.

Johannes Schwab :
When I was younger, I was deeply fascinated by photographers like Joel-Peter Witkin, Robert Frank, Larry Clark, Jim Goldberg... Later I added Boris Mikhailov, Nobuyoshi Araki. Today, I still love them all but my most inspiring artist is definitively Richard Avedon.

Johannes Schwab

Jiri Ruzek :
Of course, I like the work of Helmut Newton. It can sound like a cliche, but if we respect Hendrix in modern music, we must respect Helmut Newton in modern photography. I don't want to copy his work, I just feel something very familiar in his provoking perception of the situation and the woman beauty. I see something similar in the work of Roy Stuart or my close friend Jan Hronsky, although every one of them does it his own way. I also have to remember great Czech photographer Jindrich Vanek (R.I.P.), some of his photos talk to me in a similar way. As I've mentioned, I am also inspired by many unknown photographers every day. I have a lot of friends in Czech Republic and the whole world, who create great photos. I won't say any names, because I don't want to forget someone.

Jiri Ruzek
"Let's Rock"

Germany, 1920-2004

" Helmut Newton was a German-Australian fashion photographer noted for his nude studies of women.
Countless essays have attempted to deconstruct the elaborate and heavily coded world depicted in his photographs.

As with many of his photos, Helmut Newton exposes the discomfort women endure to be alluring.

Model Adriana Giotta

His photos are tough, polished, aggressive, cold, and disconcerting. They reflect an internal world that generates a sense of unease. He achieves a delicate and difficult balance between flattery and caricature.

"What I find interesting is working in a society with certain taboos - and fashion photography is about that kind of society. To have taboos, then to get around them - that's interesting." Helmut Newton

The ironic thing is that he's made taboos more acceptable, at least to some segments of the population."

Marquita Norwood :
I have been immensely inspired by many painters including Picasso and Schiele. And photographers like Man Ray and Cravo Neto. There is something about black and white portraiture that has a gravity that I feel connected to. While not all my work is black and white monocolour, I am inspired by such works.

Marquita Norwood
"Minute By Minute"

Scott Nichol :

Ansel Adams was a big inspiration. His technical understanding of light and shadows which formed the basis for the Zone System sticks with me in everything that I do. He also had a deep, deep understanding of the characteristics of film, how it was developed, and ultimately how to print the resulting negative to produce the image that he had visualized long before pressing the shutter release. I really try to previsualize this way with my own work, and I can only do so based on my thorough knowledge of the digital workflow process.
But all the technical aspects aside, I am really blown away by Sally Mann's work. Particularly her work in Immediate Family which is so very personal, so connected with the subjects. It really raises the photographs to an emotional level for me and I truly strive to achieve something like this in my personal work.

Scott Nichol
"Stephanie with Rael"
Art Models Stephanie Anne and Rael Cohen

Usa, 1890-1976

" Man Ray was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France.

Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal.

"Veiled Erotic"

" Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask "how," while others of a more curious nature will ask "why." Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information." Man Ray

Best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, Man Ray produced major works in a variety of media and considered himself a painter above all.

He was also a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. He is noted for his photograms, which he renamed rayographs after himself.

While appreciation for Man Ray's work beyond his fashion and portrait photography was slow in coming during his lifetime, especially in his native United States, his reputation has grown steadily in the decades since."

Lee Miller, 1930

Beau eRomantica :

Alfred Eisenstaedt for his control of contrasts and "punch" in Black and White. Alfred Stieglitz for introducing the world to Pictorialism, Photomanipulation and the new concept of Art in Photography (I still have, and use a Graflex 5" x 4" Single Lens Reflex Camera, identical to that used by Stieglitz). Theodor Scheimpflug for enabling an industry to have almost infinite depth of field. Ansel Adams for teaching me to walk, walk and walk some more, and then wait until the light was right. Athol Shmith for showing me the difference that the Right Model can make to an image, and how to glean the most from a model. W. Eugene Smith for his soul, his intuitive understanding and empathy with mankind. The list goes on...

Beau eRomantica
"Watching for colour"
Art Models Cassandra and Abbey

Olivier De Rycke :
A lot, there are so many talented people out there that I am just surprised. I everyday fall in love about a picture I have found. For some photographers it can be their entire work which makes me thrilled... A few well know photographers I enjoy : Jeanloup Sieff, David Hamilton, Bettina Rheims, Helmut Newton, Andreas H. Bitesnich and some others like Désirée Dolron, Christian Coigny... I regret I cannot tell about everyone !

Olivier De Rycke
"See you"
Art Model Amandine

Usa, 1923-2004

Richard Avedon began to explore photography on his own at age 10 and was immediately drawn to portraiture.
His first sitter was the Russian pianist-composer Sergey Rachmaninoff, who then lived in the same New York City apartment building as Avedon’s grandparents. Richard Avedon studied photography in the U.S. merchant marine (1942–44), where he took identification card pictures, and at the New School for Social Research.
He turned professional in 1945 and became a regular contributor to Harper’s Bazaar (1946–65) and Vogue (1966–90), in addition to working on many advertising campaigns. In 1992 he became the first staff photographer at The New Yorker.

Karita Mattila

Richard Avedon’s fashion photographs are characterized by a strong black-and-white contrast that creates an effect of austere sophistication.

In his portraits of celebrities and other sitters, he created a sense of drama by often using a stark, white background and eliciting a frontal, confrontational pose.

" If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up." Richard Avedon

Joel Belmont :

Wynn Bullock, for the spiritual nature of his photographs. Brett Weston, for his immaculate printing. Duane Michals for his experimentation. Alfred Stieglitz for pushing the barriers, and helping to bring the spotlight to other artists. Most of my favorite photographers are no longer with us.

Joel Belmont and Lili Belmont

Jeffrey McAlister :
I have so many inspirations. It feels as if my life is one long string of images and pieces of music that have shaped the joy in my consciousness. Among those are Edward Weston, Ralph Vaughn Williams, CV Stanford, Margaret Bourke White, Trevor Watson, Bob Dylan, Michael Helms. I have to say ; early in my time making nudes, the published work of Jock Sturges was huge for me. The fact that he could shoot a subject so socially forbidden and bring such clean, frank love and expertise to those images… such honesty blew me away. I admired Robert Mapplethorp for the same reasons. I need to add… in my work there is no inspiration greater than the heart of a woman that compels her to want to share her body and the truth of her feelings about desire and lust with my camera.

Jeffrey McAlister

Uk, 1942

" Albert Watson is a Scottish fashion photographer, who writes and lectures on photography.

He was born in Edinburgh, the son of a physical education teacher and a boxer. He grew up in Penicuik, Midlothian, and attended the Rudolph Steiner School in Edinburgh and Lasswade High School, followed study at the Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art in Dundee and the Royal College of Art in London.

" I am obsessive and I am a neat freak, but it's not the real me ! If you become too obsessive about perfection, it has a derogatory effect on the work, and it can become too heavy and clunky, and it loses some of its spark. That striving for perfection can really interfere with the spontaneity of the image." Albert Watson

Rachel Williams, New York City, 1995

Albert Watson's career began when he emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1970s to set up studios in Los Angeles and New York.

Despite being blind in one eye, his success with fashion and popular culture magazines such as Vogue, Rolling Stone, The Face, VIBE and Newsweek is well documented and his work appears on covers of such major magazines throughout the world practically on a daily basis.

He has been involved in numerous advertising campaigns for leading cosmetics and clothing companies such as Gap, Levi's, Revlon and Chanel, and has directed more than 500 TV commercials. He also created his own work during his travels around the world from Marrakech to Las Vegas."

Monica Gripman, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, 1988

Mark Varley :
Craig Weston, Man Ray, Erik Kroll, Gabriele Rigon, Helmut Newton, Howard Schatz, Imogen Cunningham, the list goes on, these people and many others have all influenced me in some way. I must say, as embarrassed as she will be by it, my partner Jan Murphy has grown massively as a photographer while I have known her and when she says "what do you think of this" I am almost always quite amazed by what she has produced.

Mark Varley
Model Scarlette O'Harlette

Stephen Haynes :

I greatly admire the work of a good friend, Guenter Knop. Beat A. von Weissenfluh does some fantastic work -- I'd love to have access to his dancer-models. I enjoy seeing new work by several of my contemporaries, many of them via their own blogs. You've highlighted many of them already on Univers d'Artistes.

Stephen Haynes

Usa, 1902–1984

" Ansel Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West and primarily Yosemite National Park.

For his images, he developed the zone system, a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print.

The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs.

" Simply look with perceptive eyes at the world about you, and trust to your own reactions and convictions. Ask yourself : "Does this subject move me to feel, think and dream ? Can I visualize a print - my own personal statement of what I feel and want to convey - from the subject before me ?" Ansel Adams

Although his large-format view cameras were difficult to use because of their size, weight, setup time, and film cost, their high resolution ensured sharpness in his images.
He founded the Group f/64 along with fellow photographers Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham, which in turn created the Museum of Modern Art's department of photography."

Mic Ardant :
I am fascinated by Sam Haskin's clichés whose the talent had been revealed in France by the magazine "Lui". I still possess all his photobooks and one or two of his pentax calendars, that I finally get. I also love David Hamilton, Irina Ionesco, Bill Brandt, Bob Guccione (the boss and the star photographer of Penthouse) and very numerous painters.

Mic Ardant
"A short moment of respite"
Art Model Brandy

Dave Rudin :
There are a lot of photographers I admire. Edward Weston was great at many types of photography - still life, portraits, landscapes, nudes.
One of my top favorites was the fashion photographer Horst - almost all of his photos have a beautiful sense of elegance that I try to include in my photos.
I admire Lucien Clergue for his nudes, Helmut Newton for his erotica, Ansel Adams for landscape, Henri Cartier-Bresson for photo-journalism, etc.
I also like the work of contemporary photographers like Linda Butler, Howard Schatz and John Swannell.

Dave Rudin
"Nude, Joshua Tree"
Art Model Madame Bink

Usa, 1886-1958

"To clearly express my feeling for life with photographic beauty, present objectively the texture, rhythm, form in nature, without subterfuge or evasion in technique or spirit, to record the quintessence of the object or element before my lens, rather than an interpretation, a superficial phase, or passing mood--this is my way in photography. It is not an easy way." Edward Weston

In the spring of 1906, the twenty-year old Edward Weston visited Tropico (now Glendale), California to see his sister for two months and decided to establish himself in the state, where he remained for more than fifty years.

After two brief apprenticeships, Edward Weston began his own photographic business, The Little Studio, in Tropico in 1911.

In 1922 on a visit East, Edward Weston met Alfred Stieglitz and toured New York museums, after which Edward Weston wrote that "I was ripe to change, was changing, yes changed when I went to New York."

The following year Edward Weston went to Mexico, accompanied by Tina Modotti. In 1926 he returned to Glendale and later settled in Carmel. In 1937 Edward Weston became the first photographer to receive the Guggenheim Foundation artist's fellowship. Along with Imogen Cunningham and Ansel Adams, Edward Weston was a founding member of Group f/64, which advocated unmanipulated, sharp-focus photography."

Tina Modotti, 1923

Dan Van Winkle :
For nature work in my opinion there is none finer than Ansel Adams, although I am also a big fan of Galen Rowell's work. For nudes, I'm drawn to some of the work of Kim Weston, but I really enjoy the work of Andreas H. Bitesnich.

Dan Van Winkle
"Hard and Soft"
Art Model Sarah Ellis

I steal wildly from hundreds of different artists, my standouts are names like Helmut Newton, Albert Watts, Norman Seeff, Sante d'Orazio and Bunny Yeager. I have also been influenced greatly by my early exposure to magazines like Playboy, I've been a fan for years and I have quite a collection.

Scott Church
"Maybe some new work"

France, 1933-2000

" Jeanloup Sieff was a practitioner of the photographic art of high fashion, and avowed a fidelity to the frivolous and superficial. His legacy places him in the top rank of fashion and art photographers.

Jeanloup Sieff was born in Paris to parents of Polish origin. His interest in photography was first piqued when he received a Photax plastic camera as a birthday gift for his fourteenth birthday.

" All aspects of photography interest me and I feel for the female body the same curiosity and the same love as for a landscape, a face or anything else which interests me. In any case, the nude is a form of landscape. There are no reasons for my photographs, nor any rules ; all depends on the mood of the moment, on the mood of the model." Jeanloup Sieff

He recalled his holidays in Polish winter resort of Zakopane as a period when photographing newly met girls he got really hooked on photography.

In 1953 he attended the Vaugirard School of Photography in Paris, later on moved to the Vevey School in Switzerland, and in 1954 he was already working as a freelance reporter, leaving aside his brief interest in cinema.

In 1956 he began shooting fashion photography, and in 1958 he joined the Magnum Agency. His work for them made him travel to Italy, Greece, Poland and Turkey.

He settled in New York for a number of years in the 1960s, where he worked for Esquire, Glamour, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, becoming extremely popular in America.

He won a number of prizes, including the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 1981 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1992.
He photographed many celebrities, among them Jane Birkin, Yves Montand, Alfred Hitchcock, and Rudolf Nureyev. Dancers and nudes were two recurring themes in his works."

Marco Barsanti :
I'll say that, in absolute, I've always loved Edward Weston. Other names I can cite are Minor White, Wynn Bullock and Paul Caponigro. I also appreciate a lot the work of Lucien Clergue and Andre De Dienes.

Marco Barsanti
"Nude 00008"

Nick Owen :
Bill Brandt’s urban landscapes in black and white made a huge impression. But Man Ray was another early influence.
I see my work in poetry and pictures as a broader subject than photography alone, and would like to mention Goya and Dali as profound inspiration. I did sculpture at school and want to include Michelangelo Henry Moore here too. Robert Doisneau is brilliant at catching people in a city landscape. Though I love Bill Brandt’s landscapes, I am less happy with his nudes. People like Alex Ingram have encouraged and supported me to embark on my own project of putting together the beauty of the naked human form with the beauty of landscape.

Nick Owen
"Lightning strikes"

France, 1908-2004

" To tell Henri Cartier-Bresson’s story and to unravel his work is essentially to tell the story of a look.

Throughout the 20th century, this roaming, lucid eye has captured the fascination of Africa in the 1920's, crossed the tragic fortunes of Spanish republicans, accompanied the liberation of Paris, caught a weary Gandhi just hours before his assassination, and witnessed the victory of the communists in China.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was also Jean Renoir's assistant on three major films, an artist who sees himself an artisan but who nevertheless established Magnum, the most prestigious of all photo agencies, and who immortalised his major contemporaries : Mauriac in a state of mystical levitation, Giacometti, Sartre, Faulkner or Camus, and as many more all taken at the decisive moment, all portraits for eternity."
Source Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

" What reinforces the content of a photograph is the sense of rhythm – the relationship between shapes and values." Henri Cartier-Bresson

Rob Benson :
A long list, past masters such as Man Ray and Helmut Newton and contemporaries such as Scott James Prebble. I spend a lot of time enjoying the work of others and soaking up there creativity. It's not uncommon for me to see someone elses work and start visualising a concept of my own. Plagarism or influence ?

Rob Benson

The first photographer who had a direct impact upon me, aside from my wife, was David Hamilton. I'd seen countless works by an array of photographers before this, but it was the sheer resonance of Hamilton's style and aim that hit a pretty deep chord. I know that, even today, his subject matter is pretty controversial, but it is the seeking to capture a composition of form and light that so tenderly conveys a representation of elegance, that makes me elated and astonished.
In more recent times, I've been stunned by the work of artists such as Gerhardt Thompson in his publication, The Sun Drenched Nude, and Craig Blacklock's breathtaking A Voice Within. I'm equally a huge fan of the work of American artist, Steve Hanks, and immensely grateful to the continuing input of warm and astute masters like John Peri and Raymond Ellstad - people who really share the passion for the art.

Howard Nowlan
Art Model Magenta

France, 1934

" Lucien Clergue was born in Arles, France. From the age of 7, Lucien Clergue learned to play the violin.
Several years later, his teacher revealed to him that he had nothing more to teach him. From a family of shopkeepers, he could not pursue further studies in a conservatory.

Nu au bois flotté, 1971

In 1949, he learned the rudiments of photography. Four years later, at a corrida in Arles, he showed his photographs to Pablo Picasso who, though subdued, demanded to see others.

Within a year and a half, young Lucien Clergue worked with the goal of sending photos to Picasso.

During this period ,he worked on a series of photographs of traveling entertainers, acrobats and harlequins, the « Saltimbanques ». He also worked on a series whose subject was carrion.

On 4 November 1955, Lucien Clergue visited Picasso in Cannes. Their friendship lasted near 30 years until the death of the Master. The book, Picasso my friend retraces the important moments of their relation.

Lucien Clergue is the first photographer to enter the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France to a seat devoted to photography."