My critique group has been having an ongoing discussion about artistic influence, which was to have been one of the discussion points for prints at this week's now-cancelled meeting. This photo is one of two prints that I would have brought for consideration.

It's not my very favourite photo from the car show this year, but it's certainly one that I like. And I can trace its influence back to a photo set that I saw seven years ago, where a photographer used black and white film at an auto show. Back then cars were still being made in different colours, so to choose to give up that visual playground was a striking thought. I half-heartedly tried it the next year, with half-hearted results, but since then both cars and I have become a lot more comfortable being all-monochrome. So that blog post, whose specifics have been lost to time, is my direct influence for this photo.

There's a broader influence as well, and it's harder to admit so that's why I'm burying it here: I don't look at photos. I don't have a favourite historical photographer, don't know any contemporary ones, and don't have a visual memory that can recall images. So I don't really draw on that pool of knowledge for my own thinking. I'm much more heavily oriented toward words – give me a photo book and I'll have read the caption before I even see the photo on the page.

So my photographic influence isn't photos, it's typography, the layout of advertisements, and basic graphic design books. And when I am influenced by capital-a-Art it's typically minimalist, colour field, and/or conceptual painting, which touches on my sense of absurdity and admiration of cleverness.

Having written that down I feel like almost everything I do can be traced back to it in some way. Tomorrow I may feel differently.

Regardless, those influence are why this photo, which happens to be of the same car but with a different composition and image on the giant screen, is the image that I like better. So I need to decide between them as a way of discussing what influences me in a way that will make sense and contribute to a broader conversation.

But back to the first photo, which is the one I'll probably choose. This is the frame as it came out of the scanner, cropped to include the edges of the frame and with the data imprint crisped up a bit, but otherwise unedited. I've actually changed the final image more substantially than I usually would, but I suppose that's still not much.

It does make a very nice print.


…and updated later:

After going back and forth several times I picked the second photo, the one with the advertising slogan across it. I titled it "Animism".