I Find Inspiration in the Work of Other Photographers

June 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Silverton roofscapep1259670872-5

Roofscape from Silverton, Colorado

I’m not much of an architectural photographer. I usually refer my long-time friendBob Brazell any of that type of work that wanders my way. I do, on occasion, photograph architectural elements that strike me as particularly “artistic”. This was the case on a visit to Silverton, Colorado. Silverton is a mining town located between Ouray and Durango on the world famous “Million Dollar Highway” 550. Today the price tag for that roadway would probably be more like a million dollars per mile. It’s an amazing and sometimes frightening drive.

But back to the subject. Silverton sits in a high mountain valley and thus is usually suffering from a temperature inversion which keeps any car exhaust, smoke or dust hovering over the town. Kind of dingy. Not the best atmosphere for beautiful color photos. I’m guessing that Ansel Adams enjoyed the same atmosphere in 1951 when he photographed the quaint mountain town. His view is a lot more inclusive than mine, showing a fence and two other homes on the right. His view also shows the mountain peak and a little grey sky as well. Ansel’s image is also in black and white even though he did do some color photography around that time. My choice for black and white came from the poor color saturation and haze in the sky. I knew I could have a lot more control over the contrast of the scene if I got rid of the color. I also chose to photograph a tighter view because since 1951 electricity, cable and satellite tv has come to Silverton and their additions have done nothing to improve the view. By cropping tighter I could eliminate a lot of those distractions. See, photography is as much about what you don’t show as it is about what you do.

I’ve learned a lot from looking at Ansel Adams photos and other photographers too. Some of my favorites are Edward Weston, David Muench, Christopher Burkett, Edward Weston and Freeman Patterson to name a few. Not having any galleries or museums that show works from these photographers anywhere near here, I collect their books and can always peruse the pages at my leisure. Seeing the photos on websites just doesn’t have the same feel as a great reproduction in a book overseen by the artist. Seeing the works live and in person is may favorite though which is why I’ll wander to Denver or Santa Fe at the drop of a hat if there’s new work to be seen.

For myself or any aspiring photographer it’s extremely important to see firsthand the works that the rest of the art world finds exciting and inspiring. Even if we’re not really producing that type of work it’s great to know what others find important enough to invest in. So, what do you do to stay or get inspired? I’d love to know. Maybe you can inspire me too.

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