Sometimes you find your own voice through observing your responses to other people’s work.

One of my visual journals is a collection of images that I appreciate. When you bring enough images together new patterns emerge. This was certainly the case for me when I sifted through my favorite photographs of nudes and found a thread that tied together works by Jerry Uelsmann, Emmet Gowin, Harry Callahan, and Ruth Bernhard. All four of the photographs I had selected used double exposure to merge the figure with the landscape. It wasn’t that these works were typical of each artist’s work; Jerry Uelsmann who would be best know for this kind of work offers many such images; Harry Callahan was highly experimental and offered only a handful of these kinds of treatments; Ruth Berhard produced fewer; Emmet Gown only produced even fewer. What had been revealed through the process of creating this collection was my own interest in a specific kind of imagery and a particular theme.

Overtly stated in my own photographs of nudes in varying degrees of transparency, the theme of man and nature as one runs through all of my work. Whether subtly or dramatically, directly or indirectly, I’m interested in all types of imagery that challenges conventional notions of separateness and offer a vision of unity.

What shared themes can you identify when observing your own influences?

Read more about my influences here.

In my Death Valley digital photography workshop, Justin Hartford consistently found a quiet corner to pursue his nude self-portraiture using his quiet gestures in the surrounding landscape as a way describing varying psychological states. His style was immediately recognizable, so much so that when another participant presented a nude of him everyone in the group thought it was his work. His approach was so different it stimulated a lot of dialog. His presence prompted us to ask how we could make our photographs more personal.

How many ways can you think of to make your images more personal?

Read more in my creativity lessons.
Find out more about my Death Valley digital photography workshop.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.


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