Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Harry Cory Wright

A recent thread on the OCA student site discussed various landscape photographers and their relevance to contemporary photography and how we as students of photography should be influenced (or otherwise) by the current well known names and names from the past. The discussion ranged from Ansel Adams through to modern protagonists such as Charlie Waite and Joe Cornish.

Much of the "National Trust" type, coffee table publications have gorgeous photography and they sell well in shops all around the land. A whole industry has grown up alongside this which teach you "how to" do the same and many enjoy that.

I have, like most others I guess had a go at this type of work and while there is some short term excitement at another 20 sec shot at f16 of a stream or sea with groynes, they are for me imitations of work by others (who have mastered the style) and why go there, is it worthwhile. One could argue that if I take as many rocky outcrops and ferns as say Joe Cornish or Edward Weston then I will be a good photographer.

What is happening here if I am not careful is blatant plagiarism dressed up as becoming educated and instead of looking for my own style and images I might as well just look for the tripod holes in the mud, buy a few books with location details and join the queue to expose my Vevia at Padley Gorge or wherever.

However, in the same way that Weston was influenced by Stieglitz, Beethoven by Mozart and Constable by the Dutch landscape painters of the 17th century it is unreasonable not to think that we are all under the influence of others to some extent.

I am, and his name is Harry Cory Wright. His work is not "typical" of what I have mentioned above and has been described as "banal" by some. Minimalist images that are not forcing themselves upon the viewer I feel have the potential to be longer lasting and while less fashionable in the short term, may have more to offer a viewer over a longer period. I have known of his work for a few years and have visited his gallery, often feeling that I wanted to know more about this work and not daring to enquire, because at that time it seemed "unusual" and I thought that I needed to stick with the mainstream and behave.

I need to make a step change, stop looking over my shoulder wondering who is watching me and be ready for comments that are challenging rather than complementary.

HCW's work can be seen at


  1. Very well expressed Nigel. I totally see where you're coming from. Interesting link too - I'll have a good look later. The tutors with OCA certainly make us question things!

  2. As you rightly say Nigel, everyone is influenced by someone, it's when you influence someone you can feel free; but never satisfied. And then again when do you know if it's ever happened??