One of the questions that always seems to come up in any art form is "who are your influences"?
I want to start by questioning whether photographers always have to find influence from other photographers to improve their work. In my opinion I believe it is better to take as little influence as possible directly from something else. I think by doing so it makes our own work more unique and true to what we want to achieve within our work. However I feel I am constantly reminded to take influence and ideas from other photographers and being told this will improve my work.
My personal influences come from people and life experiences, I want to convey my emotions and experiences into an image rather than using someone elses ideas. I think that if everyone was to take influence from something else nothing would be original and everything would be a watered down version of something that has happened before. As an artist I am constantly searching myself for ideas, using my imagination to create something that comes from my own head and heart. I think that by searching ourselves for ideas this then becomes a reflection of our own individual identities. Not everyone needs to understand and relate with an artists work for them to have an appreciation of it. Most people will take what they want from your images anyhow whether it be based on their own experiences or not.
Going back a couple of years I remember what my photography tutor once said to me. When asking me what I was influenced by I said that David LaChapelle was quite an influence to which she replied: "There is already a David LaChapelle why would the world need another?". I totally agree with this statement and I'm not saying it is wrong to find another artists work inspirational but as artists we need to draw a line with how much we take from their work. Within art I believe we can be inspired by other things than art itself, we just have to dig deep into ourselves and our own imagination to realise this.