When it comes to knowing the big names in photography, I'm rubbish. I know a few of the top dogs, but I don't really dedicate much time to expanding my knowledge of the genre. With that being said, there are a few photographers whose work I admire and ingest on a regular basis.
If you're big into the photography scene, you might know some of the names on this list. If not, I urge you to check them out. Number two is someone I know from school who is currently making waves in London. The others are big names whose work has adorned gallery walls for decades.
1. Lewis Baltz
The first photographer I got obsessed with. And I mean obsessed. I studied Lewis Baltz at A-Level, but it wasn't until a year later that I got the bug.
In my gap year, I stumbled upon an exhibition of his work in the Albertina, Vienna. I spent three hours taking in every inch of his precisely-composed images of the new American landscape. I looked on in awe as he left important elements poking just outside of the frame, and tried to figure out how such simple compositions could be so effective.
Baltz passed away a year after I visited that exhibition of his work, but his legacy will continue. If you get a chance to see his work in person, make sure you give it the attention it deserves. Get up close, notice what he puts in and what he leaves out. I learned a lot from that long, warm day in the Albertina.
2. Simon Martin
I know Simon Martin from secondary school. He was a few years above me, but I always knew him as Simon the Photographer. He knew I was into taking photos too, as I distinctly remember him telling me, in a local Wetherspoons, that I should have studied photography at university. (Note: he may have been right.)
Simon has produced a few long-term projects that I check back on regularly, including Cadets, from which the above image is taken. Another project looks at the redevelopment of Sittingbourne - our shared hometown. Since I've moved to Nottingham, it's one way I keep in touch with the ever-changing town of my birth.
His work is always insightful, and his portraits are of the highest quality. There's a really genuine feeling to all of Simon's work, which is regularly featured by well-respected institutions. You might have seen one of his photos in the British Journal of Photography's Portrait of Britain in 2016.
3. Alexey Titarenko
The final name on my list is Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko. His ghostly long exposure images provide a new perspective into the cities we think we know well. Viewing his work, I started to understand that people are everything to photography - even if they're blurred, anonymous shapes.
Titarenko was possibly the first photographer I studied from an academic perspective, but somehow, that didn't put me off. I wrote a bunch of essays on his work during my GCSE Media Studies course, most of which, I assume, were rubbish. I would dread to re-read those wordy discourses, but I still revisit Titarenko's work when I'm in need of photography inspiration.
So there you have a brief insight into what excites and inspires me in the realm of photography. If you've got some more suggestions for me, please leave a comment below. I'm pretty bad at seeking out new work, so feel free to give me a hand!