Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Inspirations and Experimentations Part 2

So, where were we? Oh yeah, things that inspire me.
Last time I was talking about how Rothko was one of my most important inspirations. I guess that's what gives my photos such a painterly quality; I trained as a painter (I also studied Fine Art at uni) and in some ways I still think like one, and take a lot of my inspiration from painters. A couple more abstract painters I think I am influenced by, would be, Patrik Heron:

and Howard Hodgkin:

So I guess those are the big famous guys that I look up to; the ones I own books about, have been to exhibitions of, had prints up on my wall and so on. But there are a few more obscure artists as well. Plus, the more I get into this project, the more I am getting interested in my photographic medium, and I am trying to think more about how I can actually shape my images using its unique attributes, and so I find I am getting inspired by some photographers as well.

OK, so an obscure artist first. Very obscure. He's called Balint Szombathy, and I discovered a book about him by chance in a bookshop in Budapest when I was there last year. The book is called "Signs of the City 1971-2012" and it features many photos like mine. I was really excited when I discovered it, to think that here was someone thinking very much along the same lines as me, but I was far enough along with my own work that I could feel like I hadn't been too influenced by him, I couldn't be accused of "stealing" his ideas, as I guess intellectual property has to be jealously guarded. Or maybe not. I read a quote recently which went something like this "Don't worry about developing your own style, as it will emerge naturally in everything you do". So I guess as long as the person being influenced isn't interested in nicking the idea wholesale, everyone can come out a winner.

Anyway, I had the thrill of discovering a kindred spirit when I picked up this book, that's how it felt to me. Like me, Szombathy had wandered around cities and kept his eye on the inconsequential details that others overlook, and had created quite abstract images from them. For the main, they are a lot less colourful and artistically composed than mine; which isn't to say worse, just more interested in documentary realism perhaps.
Here is an example, from my copy of his book, hence the weird curved pages:

Actually, the act of taking this photo made me look at the pictures afresh, as individually perhaps the composition isn't interesting, but taken as a foursome there is something really compelling about these images. Maybe the colours are reminding me a lot of Rothko again, I do seem to keep coming back to him, but it also made me think that a possible future direction for me would be to simplify my individual photos, but them mount them in a set with other pictures. That's the great thing about visual arts, if you keep your eyes and mind open, the sources of inspiration are endless!
Ok, that's all for today, but there's a lot more left for another day!


  1. I don't know whether you've thought about it in this way, but I think it would be a fruitful idea if you considered the photography that you do a kind of found art (objet trouvé, if that's the right high-falutin' word). Reframing (literally) nondescript objects to make them sculptures and paintings.

    1. Hi Balázs! Thanks for your comment.
      I do indeed like to think of my pieces as "found" things. I actually called my first exhibition "Found Abstracts", before settling for the slightly more descriptive "Photo Abstracts". You've got me thinking it would be cool to make a bit more of this aspect of things though, maybe have an exhibition where you have actual 3D objects taken from the streets there to make the link more explicit…. hmm. Thanks for giving me ideas!