Edward Hopper

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TPPhotog

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I was browsing the bookstores earlier in the week and I looked at a Taschen book of Edward Hopper whos work I love.

For the first time it occured to me that the style and feel of many of his pictures would work beautifully as black and white photographs. Needless to say I came away with it and am now working my way through it digesting as much as I can.

So I got to thinking are there any non-photographic books that have inspired your photography?
 

SuzanneR

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I have several art books that I regularly peruse. I think just looking at the old masters can be a source of inspiration. Leonardo, Carravaggio, Rembrandt are good examples. More recently, Degas, Manet, and Millet are all some of my favorites. Their is the whole history of art to draw from! I also think, that drawing and painting yourself, will improve you observational skills, and benefit your photography.

Ooo... almost forgot... Georges de la Tour! I've been working with candle photos lately, I should look him up again! Thanks for starting this thread Tony, got me thinking!
 

modafoto

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Rembrandt is a main inspirator when it comes to lighting.
But when it comes to imagination and ideas for my shots I like H.R. Giger! I like his style and the moods.

See his stuff here
 

zenrhino

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Anything by Kurt Vonnegut or Henry Miller. They both have a very palpable sense of courage in their writing that inspires me to step outside of my own comfort zone when shooting.
 

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Hey Tony, we must have been looking at about the same time..just different parts of the world. :D Of course I walked out of the bookstore with a nice Paul Strand Southwest book by Aperture. Lots of early stuff from the 20's and 30's. And some images that I have seen the actual prints of, so the reproductions are pretty close to the original plt/pld. Non-photographic books..they are all photogrpahic books to me - if they have photos in them, otherwise they are just a novel/bio etc. :wink:
 

Lee Shively

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I love much of Hopper's work. You're right, Tony, about his paintings making good black and white photos. They also look like scenes from film noir. A lot of mystery and use of light.

As far as non-photographic books, I get photo inspiration from travel guides and maps. I always wonder what's down those roads when I look at a map.
 

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Hopper is one of my favorites - also the Wyeths :smile:
 

Les McLean

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Rembrandt was my first influence followed by the impressionists and the Wyeth family,, in fact when I visit my friends in Philadelphia I always visit the Brandywine Museum to see the collection. However, by far the most influencial artist in photography is Mark Rothko.
 

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Rothko; a very spiritual/contemplative artist. But I also like Gottlieb (sp?) as well for his figure/ground abstractions.
Another influence on my photography was/is the drawing of Ingres - just remarkable stuff. His paintings are to academic/formulaic for me though.

gene
 

Lee Shively

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The painter who inspired me early on was Georgia O'Keefe. Specifically, her painting of the opening of a tent with the night sky. Being able to see something transcendent in such a mundane scene was stunning.
 
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TPPhotog

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It's amazing all the different artists that have been named in this one and also that so many of us look to other mediums for our inspiration. I think I'm going to have to look some of them up as a few are new names to me :smile:
 

roy

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Lee Shively said:
The painter who inspired me early on was Georgia O'Keefe.

I love her work, especially her florals.
 
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Another vote for Mark Rothko from me. I aspire to making statements in color like his which are so simple but yet so effective.
 

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TPPhotog said:
For the first time it occured to me that the style and feel of many of his pictures would work beautifully as black and white photographs.

I don't understand how you can come to that conclusion. Hopper's work was obviously very symbolic and his use of color is key to making the psychological implications of loneliness and isolation in modern life in his paintings work. It's not clear how the absence of color, i.e. black and white photographs, could be used effectively in this same sense as he depicted the characters and places that many of us identify with.

The work of Ray Metzker does come to mind when thinking of Hopper, his photographs of people isolated in darkly rendered scenarios are vaguely familiar to Hopper's worlds. Simplifying the image elements as Hopper did may be one of the biggest challenges to surmount, just as Metzker has.

Hopper's stark landscapes are another story; they are wholly dependent on color to give key emotional emphasis to the feeling of isolation in the American country side.

What I can see using a black and white photo for (in the same way that Hopper painted), is as the basic framework or cartoon for hand tinting allowing a more interpretive depiction of an image. Executing a vision that transcends an idealized reality into a symbolic one requires very strong vision and not just technique alone.

My 2 cents,

Don Bryant
 
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TPPhotog

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Don,

Sorry my original post wasn't clear as my point isn't to duplicate Hoppers work and it's the paintings involving people that mostly interest me from the photographic point of view.

I agree the colours are one of the main elements of his paintings. However I feel that many of the psychological statements can be made by his compositions including the use of space and scenes within scenes such as a landscape through a window as a backdrop to an interior portraiture. Some of the subtleties such as the female wearing red lipstick, with red flowers in the background in one of his works will of course be lost, but as I say my thoughts are not to replicate his work with black and white photography but gain inspiration through his pictures.

Landscapes are another matter as although I love his work I'm by no means a landscape photographer as I have neither the patience or the talents to capture landscapes as many others here do every day.
 

donbga

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TPPhotog said:
Don,

but as I say my thoughts are not to replicate his work with black and white photography but gain inspiration through his pictures.

Gotcha! His work can inspire some thought about our own work.

One of the things that impressed me most when I had my portfolio (all black and white) critiqued by Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee is the need to abstract my photographs rather than taking photos of "things". I had some solice when they recognized that in some of my work but not all of it.

That doesn't necessarily mean it has to be moody but instead thoughtful in subject selection, composition, and execution (the print). Interestingly M&P down play the importance of waiting for great light and emphasize the importance of strong vision aided by discovery through the camera.

Don
 
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TPPhotog

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Don,

Waiting for the "right light" is another failure I have. So as I prefer to use natural light as much as possible I do unspeakable things like pulling HP5+ to 200 and pushing it as far as 1600. For me film is there to be used and abused in order to get the results I'm after :wink:

Like you I have seen some abstract and psychological undertones in my work. But I still have much practising to do before I can feel reasonably happy that I am succeeding. I think looking at the works of Hopper and now some of the others mentioned here may help me along that road.
 

Les McLean

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David H. Bebbington said:
Another vote for Mark Rothko from me. I aspire to making statements in color like his which are so simple but yet so effective.

David,
You may be ineterested in a book my wife gave me, "The Artist's Reality Philosophies of Art" Rothko's notes and a partially completed book eventually found by his son and published.
 

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I'll cast another vote for Andrew Wyeth and throw J.W. Waterhouse, Rene Magritte and Frida Kahlo into the mix as inspirations for kind of surreal, angst-ridden figurative work. I haven't photographed many of those images yet, but they are in my head. I also think Goethe & Johannes Itten have been infuences in terms of color theory.

Joe
 

Timothy

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Inspirations

I share the feelings that many have expressed here. I recently decided that if I really want to get serious about studying composition and light, then I will have to start sketching. I have never been the kind of person who could draw so the whole experience is new to me. It has been like walking into the light for the first time. I am still not much of a "draw-er" but I am learning new things every day. Studying Wyeth is certainly a huge inspiration.
But my biggest influence in general is the Canadian "Group of Seven". Since my photographic work is concentrated mainly on Canadian Landscape, their works are all great examples.

Tim R
 
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TPPhotog

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Tim, good luck with your sketching it's something I'd love to do as my son and wifes side of the family all seem to be able to produce something recognisable. All I produced when I tried was a large bag of paper for recycling.

I love landscapes as well so enjoy looking at books and other mediums, but purely as an "onlooker" as I'm not very good at them either :smile: maybe when I can afford to move up to MF or LF I'll give landscapes a serious try.
 
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SuzanneR

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I think sketching is an invaluable exercise from time to time for any photogrpaher. Even, or maybe especially, when you suck at it! You don't have to produce a master sketch, but it will improve your eye.

I have to add another vote for Rothko as an influence, his paintings really are extraordinary. They force you to slow down, and take them in, and savour the colors. As Gene said, very spiritual and contemplative.

Also, Tony, I was thinking about this thread last night, and if you are interested in Hopper, you might also look at Vermeer's paintings. They aren't quite as psychologically compelling as Hopper, but he uses the figure in light and space in much the same way as Hopper.
 

Jon King

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Suzanne Revy said:
Also, Tony, I was thinking about this thread last night, and if you are interested in Hopper, you might also look at Vermeer's paintings. They aren't quite as psychologically compelling as Hopper, but he uses the figure in light and space in much the same way as Hopper.
If we're voting, I guess I have to concur with Suzanne about Hopper and Vermeer, since their paintings are about the only images I am looking at recently.

In addition to their use of lighting, another common characteristic I think they share is their physical 'closeness' to the subject. The painter often seems to be just barely out of the scene depicted. With Hopper though, he would have been suspended in air over a street at least once :wink:
 

Jim Chinn

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I have been spending quite a bit of time over the last couple of years learning about 20th century art, its various movements and the foundation put down by the imprssionists of the late 19th century.

I think it is important to understand modern art history because it begins to intertwine with photography beginning with futurism and surrealism and continues today. Just as early photographers tried to mimic painting, artists began to mimic the realism that the camera could present. (O'keefe, Sheeler,
Steiglitz). And as modern art moved to abstract expressionism photography followed suit with one example being the relationship that existed between artists such as DeKooning, and Pollack and Aron Siskind the photographer.

I love all kinds of art from early Byzantine to stuff today. Right now I am spending time researching and looking at monographs or web sties devoted to Stuart Davis, Joseph Stella and Robert Crawford all American modernists.
 
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