The world of landscape photography is filled with many great names both past and present, and studying great work is something I never tire of doing. I often revisit many of my favorite images in my library of photo books, always seeing and learning something new, and finding inspiration to continue to learn and evolve as a landscape photographer. Selecting my favorite and most inspiring photographers was relatively easy for me. Though there are many names to choose from, there are a few that truly shaped my vision early in my development, and gave me a model that epitomized how I felt about nature and how I wanted to share that passion with others. I could see and appreciate their dedication and commitment, and knew instinctively it was the path I wanted to follow as a creative artist. Never before had I felt so sure about what was important to me, and how I wanted to experience and share the beauty of nature. Here are my picks:
- David Meunch – I had been inspired and awed by his landscape images before I even knew who he was. His technique and style has inspired countless others including myself, and I’ve learned a great deal from his photography as well as his philosophy. In his words: “For me, making photographs is always a total and continuing involvement. Underlying my need for expression of a spirit of the land are certain patterns of discovery and exploration. Intense creative awareness, along with the patience in waiting for dramatic forms of sun and shadow, unusual light, or a decisive moment of mood, challenge my mind’s eye toward achieving, what I like to call, a timeless moment.â€ Browse any photography book on the national parks, and you’re sure to see one of David’s incredible photographs. Now in his 70’s, and still producing great work.
- Galen Rowell – another inspiration for me in the sense that he combined photography with adventure, Galen was a mountaineer, explorer, writer, and great photographer. Author of one of my favorite books “The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography”, his writings have taught me about vision and emotion in photography, and his travels to remote and exotic locations around the globe inspired a whole generation of photographers.
- Ansel Adams – as much as I tried to think of another photographer, I kept coming back to Ansel for opening my mind to the creative possibilities of black and white, and his expansive work on his favorite location, Yosemite National Park. His involvement in group F64, a loose knit group of photographers who believed in “straight photography“, played a leading role in getting photography accepted as a valid art form. If it wasn’t for Ansel, we might not have all of the wonderful national parks around the country to enjoy, and photograph. Definitely a “desert island” photographer if there ever was one.
Perhaps this list will change with time as I myself evolve and grow as a photographer, but somehow I think the images made by these pioneers will always have an impression on my own work.