Thursday, 23 February 2012

Photography Heroes

After watching the recent BBC drama about David Bailey I realised that I wished I knew more about other photographers and their work. So I thought it would be interesting to ask some talented photographers out there who their personal heroes are in the field.

First up I asked Jacqueline Tinney, who runs First Hand Photography here in Nottingham. Thanks Jack!

by John Naar

Too Much Inspiration

When I first took up photography, I thought that it was all about capturing people. The first photographs I took were portraits of family and friends and important events.

And while I have a huge appreciation for great portrait photographers such as David Bailey, perfectly lit and composed studio portraits have never been for me. Instead I loved photographs of ‘real’ people and was fascinated by those photographers who were masters at capturing ordinary people going about their business, particularly Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau.

Looking at the work of Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau led me towards that of John Deakin, William Eggleston and more recently, Jon Naar.

by John Naar

by John Naar

These photographers are not just concerned with people but were, and are, masters at capturing the beauty that is to be found along any city street: the shapes and reflections of windows, shadows, faded lettering, graffiti, textures and signs of urban decay.

And this is where my biggest influence has come from.

“Windows, posters, signs, and writings on walls fascinate me.”

- Jon Naar

Studying photographers like Naar has given me a new way of watching the world. I look at my city through fresh eyes now and spot little abstracts of beauty. Pattern, textures and shapes that I might never have noticed before. I love to see the remnants of tattered posters, bill-boards and flyers; and faded lettering on brick buildings which give clues to the building’s former use. I have a whole new appreciation for graffiti and even tagging.

by John Naar

My photography has changed too, now when I shoot weddings, I try to capture as many details from my surroundings as I can. Old brick walls might become interesting backdrops and unusual windows and doorways might become frames for my subjects. I look for splashes of colour to add interest and diagonals and leading lines in buildings to enhance photographic compositions.

by John Naar

The downside perhaps, of this is that there is almost too much inspiration all around. I can’t switch off the viewfinder that has now become my eyes, and when I’m out I often lose track of what I’m saying because I’ve just spotted a new piece of graffiti, or a crack in the pavement which might just make a beautiful photo.

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1 comment

  1. I love this idea and William Eggleston is one of my faves too, I saw an amazing documentary on him a while ago and he was the first (and probably only) photographer that I've ever quoted on my blog.

    Sky Arts have amazing documentaries on photographers if you get a chance to watch any, I saw a fscinating one on David LaChapelle last week and loved it.

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