Roger Ballen
[Photographer, b. 1950, New York, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.]

 The thing that influences me the most is my own pictures. 

Joel-Peter Witkin
[Photographer, b. 1939, Brooklyn, New York, lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.]

 My grandmother had only one leg and in the morning I would wake up and smell her gangrenous leg. Where most kids would wake up and smell coffee, I would wake up and smell grandmother’s rotting leg. 

Jason Fulford
[Photographer, b. 1973, Atlanta, Georgia, lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania.]

 We all are influenced by things and copy things, but often where there is a certain level of copying, only the surface value ends up being reproduced and that becomes thinner and thinner. I feel like a lot of appropriation suffers from that. 

Bettina Rheims
[Photographer, b. 1952, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, lives in Paris.]

 I think that I first started to shoot naked women because I wanted my father to look at my images and father liked very pretty women. 

Alec Soth
[Photographer, b. 1969, Minneapolis, Minnesota, lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.]

 Photography is a language. To communicate, you need to learn the language. The history of photography is like the vocabulary and influence is like a dialect. One shouldn’t be embarrassed about having an accent. 

Martin Munkacsi
[Photographer, b. 1898, Kolozsvár, Hungary, (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania), d. 1963, New York.]

 My trick—is there one? Well, perhaps a bitter youth with many changes of occupation, with the necessity of trying everything from poetry to berry picking. These difficult early years probably constitute the sources of my modest photographic activity. 

Platon (Platon Rivellis)
[Photographer, b. 1968, London, lives in New York.]

 When I graduated from college, I was working for gritty magazines with no budget and we were reacting against the gloss of the American photographers, where everything was very glamorous and everything was perfectly retouched. Growing up in London, it was always raining, we were very poor, we never saw any celebrities. So I started shooting that way. 

Paul Strand
[Photographer, b. 1890, New York, d. 1976, Oregeval, France.]

 Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees. You may see and be affected by other people’s ways, you may even use them to find your own, but you will eventually have to free yourself of them. That is what Nietzsche meant when he said, “I have just read Schopenhauer, now I have to get rid of him.” He knew how insidious other people’s ways could be, particularly those which have the forcefulness of profound experience, if you let them get between you and your own vision. 
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