One of the many elements of our Tuition and Long Term Mentoring Programmes involves encouraging our students to find unique sources of inspiration to help develop a strong wedding photography style. Far too many wedding photographers fail to take inspiration from outside the industry, resulting in pretty uninspiring, run of the mill work. We are of course very aware of many great wedding photographers in our industry, in the UK and overseas however, being able to take an element of a fine art or social documentary wedding photographer's style, study it, learn from it and apply it to our own work and approach, is invaluable.
Our talented colleague Isabel Maria is a bit of a Pinterest geek! Over the past few months she's created one of the best resources of inspirational wedding photographers and reading lists I've seen for quite some time, and it keeps growing...
If you find this little taster inspiring then I urge you to follow her on Pinterest, comment on her boards and perhaps even suggest some other names to go up on there.
If I'm to highlight just three photographers that I find particularly inspiring (among many), Sam Abell would certainly be one of them. Sam was a National Geographic staff photographer for 30 years, his social documentary work is perhaps the most beautifully structured out there, displaying such clever composition and technique in addition to telling a story. A perfect example of Sam Abell's ability to compose not only a clever composition but also convey very strong narrative and substance, would be his famous Cowboy image where there are no less than 4 individual layers of narrative, any photographer worth his salt will appreciate just how skilled (and patient!) you need to be in order to get even remotely close to this number of clear, relevant layers in a documentary photograph.
Recommended reading:Life of a Photograph
Another photographer who's work I am completely captivated by is Sabastio Salgado. I've only recently really got into Sabastio's work, his astonishingly beautiful monochromes possess so much character with clever compositions and tonal ranges. And it isn't so much his portraiture that I'm so inspired by but his landscape and wildlife work which is like nothing else I've seen. Born in the mid forties Sabastio went on to work with the Magnum photo agency and has travelled to over 100 countries for his work, producing countless essays and winning numerous awards.
Street photographer Matt Stuart would most certainly be someone I would recommend looking into, he has such a great approach to street photography. The humour in most of Matt's work is just brilliant but even if you look beyond that initial layer of narrative, his composition, use of light, shadow and colour is exceptional. Throughout his portfolio you get a real sense of just how dedicated he is to street photography, so much patience is required here and I'm sure a street folio this strong has taken years to produce and refine.
Recommended reading:His website