When our staff first read the extreme headline of Anne Almasy's DEDPXL blog post — the one that says, "I Hate Wedding Photography" — which was also picked up last week by HuffPost, we sucked in a collective breath. How dare she?! Almasy is a wedding and portrait photographer herself, one who has been at our conference and was even written about in Rangefinder's recap issue last year.
But once you get past what is meant to be a provocative link and actually read what Almasy is saying, her argument is completely justified. Her point is that personally, she finds creative inspiration in a variety of places, and most happen to be outside the wedding world.
I would argue that most great artists have a similar variety of creative inspirations outside their one area of expertise. For instance, earlier this year when I asked master wedding photographer Jonas Peterson what advice he gives to emerging photographers, he said, "You can never be better than your taste, so my advice is to go out and take inspiration from as much as you can. Fill that brain of yours with amazing art and gradually your taste will be more refined."
It's for that same reason that we include a non-wedding "Photographer You Should Know" each month in Rangefinder. From fashion filmmaker Bon Duke to iconic editorial portraitist Chris Buck, our philosophy is the same: any artist doing good work has something creative to offer wedding and portrait photography.
Almasy's point also resonates with me on a personal level. Just because I'm an editor for a wedding and portrait photography magazine doesn't mean I only read bridal publications or photography blogs. Far from it — I wake up listening to NPR, read New York magazine or Bon Appétit on the way to work, check in with blogs like My Modern Met and Refinery29 during the day, and I'm constantly thumbing through Instagram to see the amazing perspectives of my (non-photographer) friends, who happen to be thoughtful and deliberate shooters.
Almasy's point — and mine — is that in order to do good work that speaks to people (i.e. clients) in any genre, you should have some context of what's happening outside your little niche. The takeaway is not that you shouldn't be influenced by other wedding photographers or never look at their work, but like any well-rounded artist, you should be a citizen of the world.