These days I think the composers of music influence me more than any photographers or visual creators. I see something exciting or lovely and think to myself: 'If Papa Haydn or Wolfgang Amadeus or the red-headed Vivaldi were here with a camera, they'd snap a picture of what's in front of me.' So I take the picture for them.
Ansel Adams in 1930 had been training to become a concert pianist while considering a career as a photographer. He decided, after seeing the photographs by Paul Strand, that "the camera, not the piano, would shape [his] destiny." His mother and aunt both pleaded, "Do not give up the piano! The camera cannot express the human soul!" To which Adams replied, "The camera cannot, but the photographer can."
To be able to see in concrete terms what was created in a fraction of a second is a rare luxury. Even though fixed in time, a photograph evokes as much feeling as that which comes from music or dance. Whatever the mode – from the snapshot to the decisive moment to multi-media montage – the intent and purpose of photography is to render in visual terms feelings and experiences that often elude the ability of words to describe. In any case, the eyes have it, and the imagination will always soar farther than was expected.
Like it or not, a photograph is an art form, regardless of subject or style. One of the reasons I can make this generalisation is that as with anything artistic, its not a definitive thing; it means different things to different viewers and is totally subjective. To one viewer it may be crap, to another it may be superb. Just like music, sculpture, painting, the written word or film, it stirs up a different feeling and thought within anyone who looks at a picture. Its not finite like a mathematical formula but totally infinite in its communication.