Running White Deer waking up my impressionism
I remember the moment I first saw Paul Caponigro's Running White Deer. It was the first single photograph that really took on me. I had been on photography for years already and studied, or tried to study, countless photo books. But Running White Deer stopped me like no other photograph had ever done. I was studying it for a while, went on to look for more info, realized it really is a photograph and not some other art form, and returned to study it again.
Looking back, it might be the turning point where I realized there are other kind of photographs that I like than those that are obvious in their sharpness, tonality and colours. Some years earlier, I was really on Paul Cézanne, the French painter. Painting had never been my thing, but after seeing Running White Deer, I realized I could do Cézanne-like or impressionistic work with my camera.
Starting to see the rich history of photography
I had not been interested in the history of photographic art, so I was not familiar with any of the old, acclaimed work of hundreds of photographers over a hundred years before Caponigro made his exposure. I had red two of the Adam Anselm's book on the zone system and working on the dark room. Perhaps unfortunately for me, Anselm's own work, as brilliant as it is, is very similar to the style that generally speaking is the kind of photography that big audience thinks is the most appealing.
Later, having studied the history of photography as a hobbyist for quite a while, I can place Running White Deer to the timeline of different forms of expressions that photographers have practiced, each generation building on the previous one. Still, Running White Deer remains as one of my top favourites in the grand history of photomaking.
Due copyright reasons, I am not going to display the photograph here. You can enjoy my sketch instead. Finding a sample of the real photograph online shouldn't be too difficult. Or go to your library, or if you are super lucky, to an exhibition featuring his work. If you have the budget, you could always buy a print.