January 4, 2011

clareski said: Your work has inspired me to do better, and to make the photos I want to make, rather than trying to please other people. Thankyou for sharing and Happy New Year :)
My question is- who are your top five photographers that are still working at the moment?

Hi Clareski,

I’m not sure what to say besides “thank you”. That’s a very gracious compliment, and I hope that 2011 becomes your best year yet as a professional photographer.

To answer your question:

Gregory Crewdson

Without a doubt he is my favourite living photographer. Though his work borrows heavily from the documentary style, his shoots are set up and lit more meticulously than a movie set. He shoots with an 8x10 view camera and creates every effect in camera. I’m more attracted to his outdoor work even though he’s better known for his unsettling interiors. I’ve tried to copy his tone (in both senses of the word) in my own work: link link

Edward Burtynsky

Seeing his work online won’t do it any justice. Burtynsky is a pretty big deal in the photo world, but he’s an especially looming figure here in Toronto. His sizeable reputation, though, is humbled by the size of his enormous prints which are in turn dwarfed by the scale of the subjects he shoots. For more than a decade he’s been turning his lens on the massive scars that industrial production and resource extraction leave on our earth, and a even few minutes spent with his very straightforwardly-presented images is a very moving experience.

James Nachtwey

He has a singular style, a signature that finds visual balance and harmony in the chaos of some of the world’s most horrible conflicts. His photos say more than I could right here.

Bruno Schlumberger

Daily newspaper photographers are a weird breed. They’re strangled by deadlines, they’re victimized by crop-happy editors. Their work jostles for space with half-page ads for car dealerships. Schlumberger isn’t just the best staff photographer at the Ottawa Citizen - the city paper in the place I grew up - he’s the best staff photographer in the country. He’s quietly racked up more awards than any of his colleagues, but somehow he’s still relatively unknown beyond those whose eyes dart to the byline when they see a particularly great image over breakfast. I’ve heard, from one of his colleagues, that he has a reputation for coming back from an assignment with just one negative.
Growing up and seeing stuff like this on a daily basis was a photography education worth well more than the price of delivery.

You had asked for five photographers, but in trying to complete this list I realize that all the contemporary photographers who are inspiring me are men. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve paid my dues to Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus and even Leni Riefenstahl. I’m just embarrassed that I can’t come up with any women that are still practicing their craft that have influenced me like the men above. I’ll leave this list incomplete for now and invite my followers to open my eyes to the work of the talented women that are surely out there. Who am I missing?

11:50am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZqrjJy2Qo8_S
Filed under: Writing 
  1. s2z said: there’s some big names there all very contemporary, can you name any inspirations pre 1970?
  2. jaysonng said: So how come i’m not one of your top 5? Hehe kidding. Glad to see your moving up. You do awesome work. :)
  3. renbostelaar posted this