Photographic Style

Following all of the discussions that have been bouncing around in this section for the last week, I started thinking more about style and how this relates to our sources of inspiration and what we like and don't like about certain images (either our own, or those of others). Tim did not like the 'snap shots' of Diana Bloomfield whereas both Vic and I did and I'm guessing he does also not appreciate the work of William Eggleston. In the case of Diana Bloomfield I suspect that all of her snap shots were carefully considered. The bits that were left out were probably done so for a reason, but that reason is not always clear. For me, however, in most cases they work. William Eggleston works in a much more instantaneous way, grabbing shots of things that interest him. Some of his work, especially his 'everyday objects' I really like, others I find rather more difficult to appreciate except as part of a whole. I guess a similar photographer might be Martin Parr. He is clearly a highly talented photographer with a great passion for the craft both behind the camera and as a collector of images. But I just don't 'get' his work and find it difficult to appreciate. However, I very much appreciate the observational photography of Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau (even though some of it was staged - but staged well in most cases) but suspect it is the period I am drawn to rather then the images (hence my lack of appreciation of Martin Parr - it's too 'now').

I suppose that the work we appreciate must in some way overlap with our own interests and aspirations. The question is whether this means we share a common source of inspiration or whether we are inspired and influenced by this work. I like darker, more stylised images. I find the work of photographers such as Sarah Moon fascinating (and before her, Lillian Bassman) and the work of the artists working in alternative processes inspire me to explore these ways of creating images either directly or by digital simulation. The same is true with all forms of photography. While I can appreciate the beauty of the scenes captured with such skill by landscape photographers such as Joe Cornish and the technical mastery of Ansel Adams, the images themselves leave me cold. Whereas the work of Eddie Ephraums I could look at for hours (well at least minutes) and it is those that I would want on my wall rather than images by Adams and Cornish. The same is true of macro and wildlife photography. I appreciate the skill and technical ability of the great wildlife photographers and love the depiction of the natural world (I guess, after all, it is what inspired me to become a professional biologist - I loved Wildlife Magazine as a teenager), showing animals and plants in their natural environs. Similarly, perfectly captured close-ups always interest me from an almost academic stand point, probably because of the overlap with some of the technical image making that forms part of my day-to-day life. But it is he work or artist such as Nick Brandt ( that truly excites me and makes me want to take more pictures myself.

It is this influence on seeing that appears to me to be the way other photographers influences us most. The subjects, ideas, obsessions probably come from within (or from our experiences in life, or dreams) but how we visualise, capture and present them I am sure is in part inspired by the vision of others. I guess this can be seen to some extent in the way 3 people have 'interpreted' the image that Vic posted (Concrete Jungle). I thought this idea of posting an image and asking others to present their view to be a very interesting one and something that we can continue in some way. It reveals both the style of others and also might help us understand the influences that shape our view. Why we take what we take and why we choose to present it in a certain way. Again, as Vic suggested, the idea of describing the thoughts and visions rather than the EXIF data might be a much more interesting way to present our work. What do you think?
Last edited:
I really must find this thing I saw about inspiration the other day... I'll dig it out if I can and post it, it was very interesting!

Robert parke Harrison is one artist I think has inspired me... I'd love to get as in-depth into ideas as he does!
I just wish I had the time, it would be a wonderful thin to be a profesional artist, with the time to experiment and develop a style.
I am definatly starting to feel the inspiration is perhaps more abstract than I would have previously thought... For eg, I have never once thought about Robert parke harison when editing my images, but you could probably trace back the first abstract sepia stuff I did to about the fisrt time I saw some o his work... I'm obviously not saying my stuff is like his... It's not, but it must have been subconciously what put the sepia tones into my photos.
The recent pink thing, has just been based in some images I have seen in a scrap book Hannah makes ...
I must confess to not being a great browser of images. I know I should to get ideas and inspiration but I never seem to do that. When I'm out and about up town I do sometime pop into The Photographer Gallery, just round the back near Trafalgar Square. They have some great stuff on display there. William Eggelston would be the photographer that I most enjoy to view (but then I don't view enough)

I always wanted to emulate great B&W stuff from the 50's -60's but I think I've had a bit of an epiphany over the past few days (can you have a 'bit' of an epiphany?) and come to realise you don't have to do B&W for mood. I think this has all come about due to this forum and me questioning some of the compositions of Diana Bloomfield, not in a critical way you understand, more critical of myself. I would bin a lot of stuff because of a 'half cut off MacDs sign' but it made me realise this doesn't have to be so. I guess this means I'm inspired by Diana Bloomfield.
I just wish I had the time, it would be a wonderful thin to be a profesional artist, with the time to experiment and develop a style.

Shoot sincerely to please yourself, and style will happen. You will not see it, but everyone else will. I have no style that I know of, but all my life, people keep telling me they can spot my pictures every time.