Pablo Picasso is credited with the statement, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal!" In his book, "A Notebook At Random", Irving Penn shares his revealing "tree of influence" sketch, mapping out the relative influence of painters and photographers that he most admired. I thought I'd steal this idea for myself to make a simple top ten list. The exercies turns out to be deceptively difficult, not unlike trying to copy one of Penn's single light still lifes.
Nearly two years after assembling a list of what turned out to be 38 of my favorite photographers (see Influences), Never far from my thoughts, here I pay homage to the great masters with a further analysis what exactly I've been able to take away, if not steal outright.
It came as something of a surprise to me that of my favorite photographers fall into two distinct categories. First, there are those who are a direct influence, in that I want to make pictures that look like their pictures. And second, there are those whose work I love, but have no desire to emulate directly. In some ways, the influence of the second group is more profound.