What is the key to growth as a photographer? Is it buying the best gear you can possibly afford? Nope. Or is it strategically curating your Instagram feed? Probably not.
So, what is the path to progress as a photographer? In my opinion, the best thing we can do for our own development as creatives is to study the work of other photographers and artists. No matter what gear we have or how nice our social media looks to our viewers, we risk stagnation if we aren't learning from fellow photographers.
If you specialize in one genre of photography, I can't recommend enough studying the work of other photographers in other genres. I'm mainly a landscape photographer, but I find much inspiration in street and architecture photography. Viewing George Byrne's photographs, for example, has influenced the way I look at nature. Though his images mostly showcase concrete jungles, his simple, colorful compositions have helped me see trees, mountains, and rivers in a simpler light.
Further, once I discovered famous paintings by Caravaggio, my style drastically changed. Caravaggio was an Italian painter during the Baroque period, and he often used a technique called chiaroscuro. This artistic approach manipulates extreme darkness and brightness to create emphasis and and dramatic contrast in an image. After discovering this artist's style, I quickly fell in love and began to apply it to my own photographs.
What do you think is the key to personal growth as a photographer? Do you agree with this philosophy or do you have a different approach? If you agree, what photographers and artists influence your work and the way you see the world?