Taking war photography back to the 1640s?

Back in the 1980s what made me want a camera was seeing the work of Don McCullin, Brian Harris in the early Independent, Chris Killip or Sebastaio Salgado, and you might see this in my pursuit of long term documentary projects like Speakers Corner. But it’s never so simple, is it? Indeed, my big documentary interest, historical re-enactment, was more the result of my having read history at Cambridge, and while I was also a big fan of Robert Mapplethorpe, studio photography has always left me cold.

My other photographic love has always been landscape. I don’t believe in too much rationalisation, but I distinctly remember noticing McCullin’s wonderful book of black and white Somerset landscape for their expressionist mood. Other favourites would be Fay Godwin and William Neill, while some of David Ward‘s ideas have been thought-provoking. I also draw from my knowledge of art history. Turner is an obvious love, and in London it’s easy to see his less-known earlier work, but for someone a historian by inclination your influences can cover many centuries.

But should one ever explain one’s photography?