For this part of my research I will discuss my artistic family; the people that inspire me and, in a way, surround me in what I do.
I have tried to make some different categories within these inspiring people but these are more a tool to cut up as long text, than really a way to categorize these photographers, artists and thinkers. Each person discussed will have some info added, an image and a link to their website. I have done this a bit before when I shared some work by Andreas Gefeller and Alexey Titarenko.
The first category is probably the biggest one for me. These are the people that play around at the edges of photography. They use the medium in extreme ways and find new ways of telling stories.
The first one is easy. I have had my internship with Mathieu in 2010/2011 and had good reasons to do so. His starting point is always photography but he is not afraid to use this combined with other mediums to get his message across.
How can one not be inspired by Andreas Gursky? He is the type of artist so successful that he does not even have his own website. He is known for his large scale photographs. He manipulates up to a level where it does not matter anymore what is true or real. A sort of unreal perfection that can not be found.
He is best known for his series Supervisions where locations are photographed from above, patch by patch. These patches are then stitched together to form a new image, creating a viewpoint that is often impossible. I really like the way he creates his own sort of database of a location, and creates a new image out of this.
This photographer has one of the worst websites I know but please, look past it and go see his series High Altitude. The way he uses something intangible like financial data and turns it into something as grand as a mountain range, is really wonderful.
Sometimes a picture does not really work when viewed on a screen. This is the case for Michael Wesely. He takes up to a thousand days to take one image of a location, resulting in an image with both grand gestures like the path of the sun visualized and tiny little detailed reflections in one image. Get his book.
I can not remember how I stumbled upon this photographer but I am so glad I did. Like Wesely, he takes long exposures but of a completely different kind. Titarenko creates stunning ghostlike cities where the people are still occupying their space, but are hardly recognizable.
This is a category that I wish was bigger. These are artists that somehow use the internet and adjacent technologies in their work. It is a bit of a broad definition, but it is a group I really appreciate.
Besides using new technology and their effects as a subject, there is another thing that I really like about Willem Popelier. He sketches a lot to come to his work. I have seen this in a workshop with him earlier this year. He is a talent and I am very curious to see what he will be doing the next few years.
There are a lot of photographers that take pictures without using a camera. Most of them use Google Streetview and focus their projects on the physical world. Robert Overweg does it differently. He focuses on game worlds and the strange things that can happen there. Digital tools and digital subjects, that is what I like.
This photographer can certainly not be missed in this list. He is one of the few photographers I know that combine photography with programming like I do.
Julius von Bismarck
The impact of Julius von Bismarcks project the Image Fulgerator is one to remember. He uses a camera flash and a camera to project images on subjects that other people are photographing. This results in projections in a photographed reality that the people did not see themselves.
This category full of really young people was lacking some experience so far. It is easy to find that in Thomas Ruff. In his project jpegs he explores the structure of images on the web.
This category is for some artists that are not photographers but do work with photographs or do other interesting stuff with digital imaging. It is a group hard to describe.
The first mention is for this German artist that I randomly discovered on Flickr one day and never forgot. It is his talent to take a digital image and program something to mess it up in the most beautiful ways.
I have added this person to represent a whole field I am interested in (but do not know any particular artists in besides her). The world I am talking about is glitches and glitch art. She has some very interesting material on the subject.
Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen
These men have a created a project I am proud to be jealous at. Using a rod that lights up and shows the quality of a wifi-signal, they have taken long exposure pictures throughout different locations. The result is a picture in which the wifi signal is being mapped as if it were visible in the physical space. The translation from one world to the other works extremely well.
Radiohead, James Frost and Aaron Koblin
James Frost and Aaron Koblin have made an absolutely stunning video for Radioheads song House of Cards. The thing is however, no camera was used for filming it. They used 3d scanned material instead, and created footage out of that. To top it all of, all the data is free to download.
The visible human project is a long exposure in a really non-traditional way. Frank Schott has taken a scientific dataset containing scans of a human body, and put them back in the physical world with his pictures.
There is of course more than that. What I haven’t mentioned yet is the writers I am interested in. And by writers I do not mean novels. My main inspiration in this field is Marshall McLuhan, his tetrad of media effects and his writing about how mediums work us over. In the same line is Program or be programmed by Douglas Rushkoff. A whole different type of writer is Hans Aarsman whose sober approach and view on esthetics (they only get in the way of the message) is always refreshing. Other interesting writers include Clay Shirky, Lev Manovich, Walter Benjamin and pretty much any recent writing on media theory.
Another category of photographers that I have a weak spot for is what I call the German school. This starts with the Bechers and includes other photographers that prefer a neutral point of view like Hans van der Meer. I also find documentary landscape photography like that of Peter Bialobrzeski and Alexander Gronsky fits in that category for me.
There are a few artists that did not fit in the categories above for me like Gerhard Richter who would be a Border Seeker, if he were a photographer. Seeing designs by Le Corbusier always warms my heart a bit. And I did not quite know where to put Casey Reas and his procedural art.
Besides people, I am also inspired by certain fields, trends and such. For example, I am very much inspired by data visualization. Websites like Information Aesthetics and Information Is Beautiful are a great source for this. A good map is also something I love to see. Other inspirations include the New Aesthetic, discussions about copyright and privacy, open data and people that make work concerning these subjects.
That is about it. Interesting side note is that I feel very much related to projects like featured in the book A Touch of Code. But a lot of these projects do not really strike me. They feel more like clever design than art.