I think that were it not for discovering Alfred Stieglitz, I would have become stagnant, and perhaps even lost interest in photography as anything but a method to document birthday parties and baseball games. Stieglitz opened my eyes to the creative possibilities one can experience once you have learned to embrace your aesthetic and work it. Stieglitz brought me to Steichen, who reinforced for me the art of portrait photography and helped me learn to experiment and forget the rules. One of my favorite and frequently referred to collections of Steichen was compiled by William Ewing and Todd Bradshaw and encompasses Steichen’s time working for Conde Nast. These captains of composition led me to Paul Strand. Strand showed me that my eye and no one else’s determined my photographic creativity and that the subject was the most important part of the photograph, not the technical aspects. (I think I have to include Weston in here a bit too, for all the same reasons.)
When asked what projects shaped my portfolio, there is one of mine that was an ah-ha moment for me and dramatically changed the direction in which I was heading. I recreated, in photographs, several of Edgar Degas' After the Bath pastels. I worked with a new model for about a month to capture the images I wanted and get the look I was trying to get. It brought me closer to my work, I was in a rut prior to that. I frequently referenced Stieglitz’s images of Georgia O’Keefe for inspiration. I realized through this exercise that I could easily see my vision become a reality by changing my approach.