Earlier today, someone on FB, actually, someone who runs one of the many photography pages I "Like" on FB, asked, "Who is your favorite photographer?" I thought about it long and hard and it seems I don't have a favorite. Not one, individual, single favorite.
I do have favorite photographers, as in more than one. But their "favorite" status isn't necessarily etched in stone. For me, my faves tend to go in and out of most-favored status. There's also photographers who intrigue me for varying lengths of time, but those shooters may or may not make it to my personal fave list.
When I'm especially intrigued by an individual photographer, my intrigue might be for a contemporary photographer or for one who has come and gone. Photographers who intrigue me might be wildly popular and well-known or they may be much less so. It's enough for me that I discover or re-discover a photographer's work and that the work, for whatever reasons, fascinates me.
For the last week or so, I've found myself especially intrigued by the photography of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Meatyard, you might know, was famous for using masks in his photography. Halloween, BTW, has nothing to do with my current fascination with Meatyard's work.
For me, it's not simply a matter of admiring or being intrigued by a given photographer's work. I always hope I'll learn something from his or her work and that it might inspire me in some ways. I never intend to mimic or clone a favorite or intriguing photographer's work. Rather, I hope I might be influenced, in positive ways, or that I might incorporate some aspects of that work, in big ways or in little ways, into my own work; be it visual aspects, emotional aspects, or in some other ways.
Personally, I think it's very important for photographers to spend as much time developing lists of favorite photographers or discovering photographers who might intrigue them in various ways -- and then studying and learning from those photographers -- as they do learning new skills or how to use different kinds of gear. It's all of those things -- learning new skills, honing them, and studying the work of others -- which ultimately comes together to define your work and your style.
As usual, I'm brain-farting on the model's name pictured above. (Click it to enlarge.) Hey! You try keeping track of all the names of as many models as I've shot. We're talking a lot of them! Maybe I should get myself a bottle of Gingko Biloba?