September 4, 2011

'Nach' Off

There are photographers in my life that give me inspiration both living and dead, local and national, male and female. One of those photographers is James Nacthwey. It may be the access he gains by developing trust with subjects or the methodical way he works a situation, but to me he embodies everything that a documentary photographer should be.

From time to time while on assignments I will see a situation that reminds me of photos I've seen before, usually made by my inspirers. When I see that situation I feel it is my duty to the legacy of their great photo to emulate that photo. This notion was reinforced by another of person I draw inspriation from, Sam Abell, in an interview I did with him back in 2006.

After a cross country race on Saturday while following the winner to receive her congratulations from family and friends a situation I felt I'd seen before unfolded before me.

Lafayette High runner Mia Cornette talks with a friend after winning the girls heat of The 2011 Henry Clay Invitational at Masterson Station Park, Saturday, Sep. 3, 2011.

After the competitor sat down and removed her shoes to relieve the stress caused by the 5000 meters she had just ran in 90+ degree heat, I immediately was reminded of a photo I had seen before.

It was the photo of a boy in South Africa who was on a rite of passage journey that Natchwey made back in 1992. Now I realize there were many elements that exist in his photo that do not in mine, but I feel it is healthy to be aware of where you inspiration as a photographer comes from and implement that in your daily work.

Photo by James Nachtwey, South Africa, 1992 - Xhosa young men in rite of passage.

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