Inspiration | America: Icons & Ingenuity

A brief note before I begin to describe this series of posts. I have been pondering some posts like these for a long time. Having been a long time follower of such Photographic Icons as Chase Jarvis, Dave Hobby, and others, I have always been amazed by their continued evolution as artists and professionals. With this in mind, I wanted to dive into what photography really means to me and how I see it in our everyday lives.

To me, photography is the art of capturing the inspiration and drive of others. What we see in photographs is a moment captured from somebody else’s life through the perspective of an artist. My aim is with this series is to share with you the artists and photographers that have inspired me. They captured the inspiration, lives, and characters of their subjects in an extremely memorable way. I hope this helps drive you to find your own direction and icons, and that someday you’ll share them with me.

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I first heard of Dan Winters in American Photo magazine a few years ago when they did an exceptional job showing his work and describing what his goals were behind what he was capturing. While it may have gotten slightly political in a way that differed from my own views, what I could take away was how amazing and immediately recognizable his lighting and posing was. Extremely complicated lighting that looked very simple. Deliberate and moody. I immediately loved it and have been a fan of his work ever since. So, last Christmas, when I saw that he had a new book coming out, I HAD to ask Sam to get it for me as a last second gift. As I expected, she pulled it off without a thought and I was surprised to unwrap Dan Winters’s America: Icons & Ingenuity on Christmas morning!

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I am an avid reader by nature. Normally my reading is done on a Kindle, and I’ve never read the Foreword of a book (does anybody really??). Yet, when I opened this beautiful hardback book, I immediately looked toward the start in order to read the Foreword. My goal, to further try to understand the mind and viewpoint of Dan before looking through his work and trying to learn as much as possible from this accomplished Professional. Written by Lisa Nellor Grove, Director/CEO of Telfair Museums, it is a short and pointed introduction into Mr. Winters works, followed by introductions from other esteemed professionals and a short introduction to the work by the man himself. And, while I don’t want to ruin the book for anybody thinking about purchasing it in the near future, I have to insert one of my favorite quotes from him that I think speaks to what I was trying to say up top…

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“Passion and perseverance can be befitting allies; they have brought me opportunities and experiences beyond anything I could have ever imagined…. Photography has allowed me to step into the lives of others, however briefly, and be inspired and amazed by the endless facets of the human condition.”

That is what this book is and what he does. I’ve included a few images of my favorites from the book to share with you here. These are from just the first section of the book – Icons – with many others to follow including some of Dan’s images of honeybees, his work with NASA, paintings, and many others that are wonderful when you sit and study. A great book to sit down with a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or martini and just enjoy and immerse yourself in.

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I hope that this brief introduction will help bring his work to more people and inspire you to buy the book or at least search through others’ work to help you find your own way. Study their perspective, their lighting, their posing, and all of the other facets that make a great photograph and continue to learn. I believe that’s the key and I can’t wait to share my next Inspiration piece with you all.

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