Create: Ten Words, Ten Photographers

Action shot!

I lied. There are eleven words and photographers. But who is counting? I did this same film as a YouTube Live last week or the week before, but I liked the content enough to redo it here with more information.

For me, one of the most important things is knowing your history and understanding the context of where your work might fit in. I also believe that knowing your history will reveal the photographers who live as the foundation of the entire industry. (These are the folks I would aspire to be were I still working as a photographer.)

A few weeks ago I was thinking about words I would use if attempting to define a successful politician. Then I moved those same words over to the photography space and thought about photographers who were strong representatives of each of these words, characteristics, or attributes. Each of these photographers is interchangeable with each word, so if you feel like mixing and matching, by all means.

Martin Chambi, Howard Bingham, Susan Meiselas, W. Eugene Smith, Dan Winters, Douglass Kirkland, Sara Terry, Joel Peter Witkin, Catherine Leroy, Trent Parke.

9 Comments on “Create: Ten Words, Ten Photographers”

  1. All good but I find Trent Parke insanely inspirational.

    Back in the mid-nineties (my early twenties) I had a working holiday visa and basically did a year-long road trip around all of Australia except Tasmania. It hurts, even while typing this, to think about the missed opportunity regarding a photo project. I mean I have photos, but they’re just snapshots.

    If you want the fictional writer version of Trent check out Tim Winton if you haven’t already. Breath, in particular, is stunning.

    1. Sean,
      I have a crush on both. I actually drove to Winton’s town in WA. I didn’t go to his house or stalk him I thought about it. I love his writing as well.

    2. Sean, I know that pain. I taught English in Istanbul in the early 2000s. I had my camera with me, but I was an idiot with the thing. I didn’t put in the time and effort to figure out what was important to me in photography. Also didn’t put the time and effort in to actually learn about the photographers I professed to like. I have a bunch of garbage photos from Turkey, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Where was Daniel Milnor’s site when I needed it. I blame you Dan. I’ll probably keep visiting the site, just wanted you to know that somehow you’re to blame.

      I put down the cameras for about 15 years shortly after that. I started thinking 1) I sucked and had no vision and 2) everything had been photographed. Unfortunately, #1 still applies. I no longer believe #2.

      1. Scott,
        The internet brought that notion of “everything has been done.” Everyone has vision but it can take years to define. There are no shortcuts.

  2. Wow. Thoughtful and totally original. Cudos Mr. M. I was totally unaware of Mr. Chambi. Now looking for his pictures.

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