Since beginning my studies in photography eight years ago, I’ve continuously poured through the work of photographers I’ve admired. Although many of my favourites produce work very dissimilar to my own, they inspire my imagination and creativity in immeasurable ways. Below are just five of the many artists whose work I dearly love – perhaps you will find their pieces just as compelling.
Nan Goldin - The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
Early on in my studies, I came across Goldin’s series 'The Ballad of Sexual Dependency' – photojournalistic captures of her friends and lovers, many of whom suffered with drug and alcohol addiction, and some who sadly contracted the AIDS virus. Its gritty rawness and honesty hit me straight in the gut, and was the first thing to inspire a more documentarian approach in my own work.
Erwin Olaf Hope - The Hallway
A stark contrast to Goldin, Erwin Olaf’s stylised portraiture is highly staged and conceptualised, and has directly influenced my wedding portraiture. The intense and moody storytelling present in every single frame – as well as his use of rich colour and beautiful lighting – never fails to take my breath away.
Bill Henson - Untitled #20
The dark, sensual and delicate work of Bill Henson has been a long time favourite of mine. Hauntingly beautiful, dimly lit portraits of youth and urban landscapes; his pieces feel like a visualization of a hazy dream.
Andreas Gursky - Gursky Kamiokande
Gursky’s large-format natural landscapes, urban structures, desolate spaces, and scenes of human chaos play with your mind; at once both beautiful yet confusing, simple yet complex. Seeing his 2008 exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria is by far one of my greatest art experiences to date.
Andrew McConnell - Kinshasha, Congo
I only recently discovered the work of photojournalist Andrew McConnell. I find images of war and human despair extremely upsetting, and often shy away from looking at this kind of work in much detail – but McConnell’s sense of composition, light and storytelling is too striking to ignore.
In particular, his series entitled The Cataracts is something truly worth seeing – a rare glimpse into the daily struggles of the fishermen from the Wagina tribe in Congo.
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