I’d like to jot down the names of some writers, bloggers, and photographers (and the like) who have been especially influential to me over the past year. It is, of course, necessary to remind everyone that this is by no means a definitive list; I originally attempted to narrow down the selection to five, then had to expand the selection to ten. I have generically categorized these writers between my two biggest interests that they primarily serve: photography and technology.
The first five men are all photographers in one way or another, and have been perhaps the strongest influences on my own photographic career over the past year. Their blogs, portfolios, and knowledge have all been particularly instrumental in my growth.
- Duncan Davidson (@duncan) is my photographer man-crush of the year. He built the blog theme I am currently running, and was the primary inspiration for the revitalization of my blogging efforts. I also enjoy reading his thoughts on gear and the technical side of photography, and take his thoughts and recommendations very seriously.
- Jorge Quinteros (@jorgeq) was one of the first photobloggers I came across. I’ve always been especially inspired by his enviable desire to step out of his comfort zones, and his photographic growth reflects this. It didn’t hurt that I actually met him in Brooklyn late last summer.
- John Carey (@fiftyfootshadow) is the man behind Fifty Foot Shadows, an increasingly popular desktop wallpaper and photography blog. John’s articles rarely involve technical photography; instead he often waxes poetic, delving into thoughts regarding mindset, approach, and inspiration. He doesn’t publish too often, but when he does, it’s always excellent. He visited Boone this school year, where we met up in a coffee shop and geeked out.
- David Hobby (@strobist) has been cementing my love for the Fuji X series (specifically the X100S) with his praise and adoration, and also serves as the Internet’s number-one photography lighting guru. His guides and recommendations related to all things lighting have seriously contributed to my growth as a photographer.
- CJ Chilvers (@cjchilvers), formerly of A Lesser Photographer fame, often discusses the importance of creativity over gear. His essays are carefully thought out and say just what’s needed to be said, no more.
The next group of five are probably best labeled as “tech bloggers,” as much of what they frequently cover revolves around technology, Apple, gadgets, and the Internet. That said, these guys are worth reading for more reasons than just general geekery.
- Shawn Blanc (@shawnblanc) was the first blogger I ever “followed.” He has since begun to write full-time about apps, Apple, and general geekery. He covers what needs to be covered and leaves out the fluff; his commentary is honest and tasteful. One can tell that Shawn writes for the love of writing, not for the page views.
- John Gruber (@gruber) writes Daring Fireball, which is unarguably thego-to blog about all things Apple. He splits his time between links-with-commentary and long-form articles (the inspiration for my own blogging style), and everything he writes is exquisitely crafted. I don’t always agree with his sometimes-inflammatory opinion, but I respect his writing nonetheless.
- Justin Blanton (@jblanton) doesn’t write often, but he does, it’s worth checking out. In all honesty, I enjoy reading his Twitter feed more than his blog; it’s full of wit, intelligence, and information. His taste is excellent, and just about anything he recommends is usually the “correct” recommendation.
- Matt Gemmell (@mattgemmell) is an extraordinary writer. He covers a decent variety of topics, with no fluff; everything he publishes is brilliantly composed and considered, and his approach is always quite gentlemanly. Matt’s writings have inspired me to become a better writer myself, but also has made me realize how far I still need to come.
- Marco Arment (@marcoarment) is the man behind Tumblr and Instapaper among other things, and always says exactly what needs to be said about what needs to be discussed. His opinions can be strong and divisive, but he always takes a stand, which solidifies him as an unashamed human writer.
I would urge you all to check some of these guys out, follow them in whatever way you please, and then continue exploring. This past year in particular has taught me a lot regarding how important reading and learning from others can be.
If you want, make your own lists, as many have been doing lately, and toss them my way.
Happy New Year.