Visual Influences Series:
Jeff Rich

Photograph by Stephen Shore, Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, 1974

Photograph by Joel Meyerowitz, Red Interior, 1977

I first saw the Shore and Meyerowitz photographs in a Color Technique photography class taught by Steve Mosch. Ever since then, I always come back to these as what sparked my interest in the landscape as a subject.

Photograph by Joel Sternfeld, After a Flash Flood, Rancho Mirage, California, July 1979

I first saw this photograph when I was living in Los Angeles, and it was one of the first disaster photographs that I really found interesting upon a second look. What I found the most compelling about Sternfeld’s photographs was that they required close study, and that they always worked best in a larger body of work. The book American Prospects is probably one of the biggest influences on my work.

Photograph by Alec Soth, Helena, Arkansas

Alec Soth’s project Sleeping by the Mississippi was influential in many ways for my work. The straightforward portraiture mixed with landscapes was not something I had really seen before, except in Sternfeld’s work. However, Alec’s images were much more geographically focused, which really changed the way I thought about photo projects. I became interested in defining place in my work.

Photograph by Edward Burtynsky, Shipyard #5, Qili Port, Zhejiang Province, 2005

Photograph by Edward Burtynsky, Nickel Tailings No. 34 & 35, Sudbury, Ontario 1996

Burtynsky’s work was really the first time I had seen work that dealt so effectively with our relationship with the earth and the idea of sustainability.

Photograph by Robert Dawson, Flooded Salt Air Pavilion, Great Salt Lake, Utah

I found Dawson’s work interesting, especially the work he did on The Water in the West project. His and the other photographers’ work on the project led to my interest in the idea of the ownership of water.

Photograph by Jem Southam, The Pond at Upton Pyne January 1997 (diptych), 1997

Jem Southam’s work at Upton Pyne was fascinating to me. By returning to the same property over several years to document only the seasons and the small changes the residents were making, he created quite a subtle body of work.

Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Jeff Rich for our Visual Influences Series.
View a selection of Rich’s photography featured on One, One Thousand in July 2011.
Visit Rich’s website:
Purchase a copy of Rich’s first monograph Watershed on Photo-eye.

"The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion, - all in one." - John Ruskin

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