Simon Norfolk’s Influences

When searching for Simon Norfolk’s influence i came across a website called “Gomma” I scrolled through and managed to find an interview source teller me what his influence was. Here is what he said “Yes, very much, it has more to do with painting than any other art form, except possibly philosophy. The first time I went to Afghanistan I was inspired by the work of Claude Lorraine and Nicolas Poussin. In Claude Lorraine paintings for example you see all those ruins of Great Roman temples disappearing into the overground forest. It goes back to the first question really, the politics. The thing that interests me the most is Imperialism and this idea of great Empire. That the idea of English and American Empires are just the latest of a long global succession of Empires which goes back to Ancient Rome and before.”(8) Reading through his response, it tells us what actually influenced him to take pictures of after war destruction.

How then did you make this decision to refer to yourself as a landscape photographer rather than a photojournalist? 

“Calling myself a landscape photographer was a way of avoiding some other label – ‘conceptual artist who uses lens-based media’, for example, which makes my skin crawl.I’ve always objected to the term ‘artist’.I don’t particularly enjoy the package that comes with it; I don’t want to be associated with a lot of the so-called artists out there. But ‘art’ is the best way to describe it and I put my work in art galleries so I guess that makes me an artist.People always ask me what I do and it occupies a strange kind of half-space really, somewhere between art photography and documentary photography.I don’t win fancy art prizes and neither do I win world press awards. But it doesn’t really bother me. It doesn’t have any influence on what I do.” (9) 

These images were taken by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine, who both influenced Simon Norfolk in his work. In these images you can see the similarities they have within their work, as Simon Norfolk’s work are all landscapes and he takes pictures of ruins from war, which is shown in the pictures above, they also include nature which shows how rural the space is and it gives the images more of an isolated feel to them.. This gives us an insight into Simon Norfolk as even professional photographer have to get their influence from somewhere. Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine were both famous painters who recreated images, in my opinion of the after math of war scenes. These images are very powerful as it shows the effects it has on the buildings but also on the people who had to go through it and see their homes destroyed, which is what Simon Norfolk portrays in his work.



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