David duChemin with the Snow Monkeys

Photographic Influences and Affinity (Podcast 382)

Today I discuss the topic of influence and affinity, with regards to who influences me, who I feel I have an affinity with, and how I feel these things fit into our photography. This is in response to a suggestion from long-time listener Morton Goldberg. First let me read out...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • @stevesayskanpai
    Posted at 22:31h, 06 August Reply

    I really enjoyed the podcast Martin, keep up the good work!

    I have a couple of requests/suggestions for future podcasts:

    1. I am interested in how you moved to Japan and how you have managed adapting to the culture and learning Japanese. I myself lived in Okayama, western Japan for two years, during which time I learnt the language to N2 JLPT level. Even though this isn’t entirely photography related, I wondered if you’d consider doing a podcast on this in the future?

    2. As well as your influences, it’d be great to know any specific books/websites you would recommend to an amateur photographer containing tips and tricks for improving your photography. You mentioned some of David duChemin’s books – and there are of course your own ebooks – but are there any other sources you would recommend?

    Best wishes from London,


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 23:36h, 06 August Reply

      I’m pleased you enjoyed this Steve.

      On how I got to Japan, I think we discussed this in one of these two episodes, where Jack Andrys interviewed me.

      There really was no need to “manage” to adapt. Japan felt entirely natural to me after my third day. I knew straight away that I never wanted to go home. I never took any of the earlier levels, but I passed JLPT Level 1 after three years.

      I’ll bear the 2nd topic request in mind, but in the meantime, here’s my old recommended reading list:

      • @stevesayskanpai
        Posted at 00:04h, 07 August Reply

        Wow, JLPT1 in three years is very impressive!

        Thanks for your reply Martin, I’ll check out that list of books.

  • texasironchef
    Posted at 00:26h, 07 August Reply

    I truly appreciate your attention to detail and your use of language to make me think more clearly about photography. Thank you for taking time to dive deep into your definitions of affinity and influence! Thank you also for introducing me to these artists and their contributions to the world of photograhy.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:17h, 07 August Reply

      You’re very welcome. I’m pleased you enjoyed this. Thanks for listening/reading!

  • David duChemin
    Posted at 15:07h, 12 August Reply

    You, sir, are too kind.

  • pauline
    Posted at 16:50h, 15 August Reply

    Hi Martin, love your podcasts have been a regular listener for over a year and a half. Found this one really interesting and wondered since there was no women featured are their any female photographers that either influence you or you have an affinity with?

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:50h, 16 August Reply

      Hi Pauline,

      Thanks for listening and for the kind words!

      I wouldn’t say there are any affinities, although I do love the work that the late Vivian Maier left us. I’ve also spent time pouring over Dorothea Lange’s work, which I also love.

      There is a Japanese photographer named Michiko Yone who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my winter tours, and she has some beautiful work, and I did feel an affinity with much of her early work. Canon have their way of screwing photographers up over here though. They put them on a pedestal and then publish work from them that I feel the photographer would never show if it wasn’t for pressure from Canon.

      The result is the photographer starts to look pretty ‘average’. The sad thing is that the Japanese people keep them on the pedestal that Canon creates for them, so they can get away with showing mediocre work, which may not be the best place to be creatively.

      Honestly, I swear that Canon Japan, the mother ship, have a policy of showing mediocre work from their chosen pros, so that more people will think “I can do that!” and run out and buy a camera.


  • Attila
    Posted at 04:29h, 24 January Reply

    Hi Martin,

    Please listen to the following podcast about Michael Kenna. Inspiring.


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 08:51h, 24 January Reply

      Great find Attila! Thanks!

      I’ve bookmarked this and will listen later.

  • Jens
    Posted at 19:20h, 13 April Reply

    Thank you for the article. It is one of the best this year because I can see that we have many names in common. I would have also have included Paul Nicklen as well. On my list I have Nick Brandt and I was so fortunate to experience one of his exhibition here in Sweden some years ago. It was really inspiring as I was on the opening night and we could could listen to an interview with him ans also ask him some questions. I am also going to see Sebastião Salgado´s exhibition at Fotografiska Museum in Stockholm in June. That is also going to be great because I have also bought his Genesis book.
    I am really happy that you included some new names so that I can spend some few hours reading up on them. Do you have more Japanese that I should look out for?

    Here are some Swedes that is on my personal list:
    Mattias Klum http://www.mattiasklum.com
    Tom Svensson http://www.tomsvensson.se
    Brutus Östling http://www.brutusphoto.se

    You are on my list for people I keep my eyes on for inspiration. Keep up the good work!

  • Jens
    Posted at 06:59h, 16 April Reply

    Hi Martin,
    Thank you for the information about Mr Yokoyama. To bad he hasn´t got a web site so that I can look at more of his pictures. The ones in your article was very hard to view as they are small and far off in the pictures.

    I actually found another marvelous photographer yesterday. His name is Chris Rainier, http://www.chrisrainier.com, and he takes awesome black and white photos with stories about ethnic groups living on the edge. At the moment it is far from my big cat b&w photos but in I have my heart close to anthropology in my book about the Panthera cats and how local communities can live side by side with the predators and that both can benefit from it. It takes a long time to get the pictures of the cats and then also write all those pages. I can´t understand how people can finish books in just some months.

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