Documentary Photographer Lists 11 Photographers That Will Inspire You to Create Better Images

For photographers, inspiration comes in many forms: some from abstract thoughts, some from life experiences. When inspiration isn't as forthcoming, it's helpful to look at those photographers who forged their own creative paths.

In this video, Marc Silber, of Advancing Your Photography, sits down with documentary photographer Daniel Milnor to discuss some of Milnor's favorite image-makers. Instead of just going through a list of names and portfolios, he used word association; specifically, he came up with a list of words to describe the qualities of a great photographer, then he picked one person who he thought best encapsulates each word. It's a neat little thought experiment to try for yourself.

There was one thing that Milnor briefly mentioned, which really hit me. He voiced his frustration at having to look at "another over-saturated landscape image." Why did it hit me? Because I felt like he was describing my work. Obviously, he wasn't talking about me specifically, but there's a reason why I felt a little twinge in my stomach — there's nothing terribly original about my landscape images. I'm comfortable in saying that because acceptance and recognition of a flaw is the first step towards growth. Now, am I willing to put in the work to improve? That's a question that every photographer needs to ask themselves if they have aspirations. 

Which of the photographers mentioned in the video resonated with you?

Mike O'Leary's picture

Mike is a landscape and commercial photographer from, Co. Kerry, Ireland. In his photographic work, Mike tries to avoid conveying his sense of existential dread, while at the same time writing about his sense of existential dread. The last time he was in New York he was mugged, and he insists on telling that to every person he meets.

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A great and fun list of some of the most influential photographers.

I like his particularly unique list without the usual suspects.

I rather admire people who simply take photos of other people! I'm actually quite good at it but I'm SO self-conscious about it. I don't like to take people's photos, even of friends, because I very often hate photos of myself.

Besides Dan's choice of photographers to match up with his "one-word" association...I appreciate the words that he chose to associate others with. We should all seek to embed those words into our own work to be the best we could be in whatever endeavour we find ourselves pursuing.

Ah man Dan Milnor is not only a gifted photographer but he's just clearly a great guy. My dad has Lyme disease and heard Dan talking about it on Photography Daily Podcast and am now a big fan of his. Too late to watch the video now so adding it to watch tomorrow.

Thanks for that list Dan. Informative. The only person I knew on the list was Douglas Kirkland. I met him once. Amazing guy.