My Photography Influences

Solitude

“Solitude” | An early image of mine taken when I was a child

Although the photo is not dated, it was taken sometime in the mid-50’s while on vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains with my parents. I don’t remember for sure, but I think it was when I turned 10 (1953) that I received a Brownie “Hawkeye” for a birthday gift and subsequently drove my parents crazy clamoring for a darkroom, which eventually I got. The original is still in fairly good shape, although the copy here has been cleaned up a bit. Unfortunately, to my great regret very few of my early photos remain.

My father, along with my mother, encouraged me to follow after my interests and dreams and did what they could to help make it possible, such a creating a photography dark room. Although my dad, from as far back as I can remember, was interested in photography, it wasn’t until my early teen years that I discovered that my paternal grandfather was also interested in photography and had built my dad a dark room in the garage attic.

Old photo of New York City

Photographer: James A. Mills

I am often asked what influences my photography. The answer is both simple and complex. The complexity comes from my philosophical base, which in turn effects how I approach a subject. The “simple” part is they study of the work of the great masters of photography; their philosophy, technique, and mostly, their perspective (which is as much about emotion as it is about technique and philosophy). Of course, this only adds to the complexity in regard to influence as I seek to make ideas gleaned from others my own — not merely copying, but trying to incorporate their perspectives into my own perspective.

I have written brief notes about individuals and schools that have influence my photography. There is a listing in the sidebar

How I became a photographer

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