Assignment #2 – Inspiration

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    I will divide my inspirations into two paragraphs, primarily because I studied art before I studied photography and feel that I have been heavily influenced by painters as well as photographers.

    I was most greatly influenced by the impressionists, Monet, Degas, Van Gough and Lautrec among others. Monet’s ability to create movement with color, Van Gough using heavy applications of paint to make his painting look almost three dimensional. One of my favorite works is Degas Absinthe. The painting is inherently sad, the downtrodden look on the woman’s face, her down cast sad eyes looking lost in thought while sitting in a dingy room with a glass of absinthe in front of her. The slackness of her shoulders, her clothes looking slightly worn, it all adds up to make you feel empathy for her even thought there is no clear reason for her to be so sad. I am in awe of the ability fo make others feel that kind of emothion with their art. To make someone smile or feel sadness are equally impressive, to derive emotion from others with something you create is a special talent.

    The photograpther who has most influenced me is Annie Leibovitz. Not her fashion photography, which is also beautiful, but her portraits and artistic photography. She has an incredible ability to make the most aged face beautiful and interesting to look at; I love both her black and white and color photography. Her lighting is impeccable creating the perfect mood and even making blue eyes shine through in a B&W photograph. A few of my favorite portraits are of Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Willie Nelson and June and Johnny Cash. Also the series she created on dancers and Las Vegas show girls were both eye opening. The dancers legs bruised with the bluish veins standing out, not exactly what we normally think of when when we think of a dancers legs. Some of her most profound pictures were the ones she took of her partner Susan while she was going thrugh cancer treatment. Not everyone will enjoy these photos but they do invoke deep emotion. One of my favorites is a portrait of Susan holding their new born daughter shortly after finding out she had cancer. Annie captured both the amazement of seeing a new life enter the world and the sadness and fear of another one leaving.

    In summary I think what inspires me is art that invokes emotions, it may not be what some call pretty or perfect but it makes others feel something. Happy or sad it is a gift to be able to make people feel these things with your art.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    That was incredibly inspiring to read.

    I often tell photographers it’s a valuable experience to study the theory and history behind different periods in art. Even just focusing on the difference between impressionism and expressionism and how that can be applied to photography is something photographers could consume themselves in for a lifetime.

    I’m really glad you brought up that point and I hope it inspires other students to research painters, sculptors and architects in a quest to understand visual communication with more clarity.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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