Unit 6


I will be looking at 3 Artist, 1 contemporary and 2 historical. The artist that I have chosen are ones that are in line with what I aspire to be like, have inspired me and what I hope to achieve from my work.

From my early days of photography, I remember going out to pinewoods near Formby beach trying to photograph everything in sight with an all point-and-shoot camera. It was not until my visit to Cicely that I decided to focus on honing my skills in landscape and street photography, incorporating techniques and methods used by other photographers. At the start I wasn't that good at it, however as time moved on my skills eventually developed and I gained an interest in landscape and travel photography. I decided to pick photography as a GCSE because of my lack of interest in literacy studies such as English thanks to my severe dyslexia. The three artists I have selected are landscape photographers and artists, although some of them may have done other work in different subjects.

These artists have greatly inspired my own work through their landscape work or through their creative ideas. I am going to give a more in depth look at some of the artists that have influenced my style of work, as well as inspiring a generation of artists and photographers throughout their career.

Ralph McQuarrie

Ralph McQuarrie was an American concept designer who was famous for working on Star Wars and is responsible for huge amounts of their iconic designs. He was also known to have worked on Indiana Jones, ET and Star Trek as an illustrator and concept artist. But what always inspired me and grabbed my attention was his Star Wars work.

Some of McQuarrie’s work would be amazing backdrops displaying huge open landscapes in a simplistic style, applying heavy detail in the paint work. Some of his other work would be heavily focused on character designs and in one quick glance you knew what the character represented, what his personality might be like and how he would interact with the story. The best thing I love about his work is that you can almost feel yourself in the artwork, as if you were really there on looking at what was happening.

All of the artwork below is from Ralph McQuarrie’s work on the original Star Wars trilogy. Fig 1 is from the movie The Empire Strikes Back, it is concept art created with a snowy environment and two vehicles, the pilot is escaping a vehicle that has crashed in a bright orange and white pilot outfit. The second vehicle faded in the background is very futuristic but also classical. I love how he has managed to make it clear to who the villain and the hero is using an effective composition. I also find that his work allows you to picture yourself inside the image, making you believe you are actually there.

Fig 2 is from concept art for The Empire Strikes Back. The image is a futuristic city floating high in the soothing orange sky, flying ships circle around the floating city. I love how he creates his cloud-like balls of cotton floating in the sky as well as how much detail he puts in certain aspects of his image. For example in this one, it is the sunset hues in the background that allow the viewer to understand the atmosphere and mood of the scene. It also allows the viewer to imagine what is going on in the city, giving the feeling it is a calm environment with families living happily about to have dinner, or a factory with office workers working late in the day about to clock off. It almost allows the viewer to hear, feel and experience the scene for themselves just by the visuals he has created. This is why I personally love his work because you can imagine so much happening in the image.

Fig 3 is concept art that wasn't used in the final in the Star Wars movie trilogy, however I imagine it has been used to guide and inspire many other works in and out of Star Wars. Even though it wasn't used in the original trilogy, I like to imagine it helped George Lucas come up with ideas as well as the rest of the team that was working on it. It is another reason why I find his work inspiring; you can take multiple different things from his work and apply it to your own projects even if your style or creativity is completely different from his. I aim to draw my audience in and have them imagine what it might be like to be in the scene I have captured, Ralph McQuarrie I believe to try to do the same. The reason, why I love Fig 3, is that there's so much going on with the spaceship whizzing past the planet, and what looks to be space stations that are highly detailed you can just imagine yourself flying past this place looking amazed at everything that's going on.

Fig.1. (Image name, artist last name, 2019) Fig.2. (Image name, artist last name, 2019) Fig.3. (Image name, artists last name, 2019)

My images

I can understand why some people might be hesitant to believe that I am inspired by Ralph McQuarrie as he is a concept artist for sci-fi and adventure films and I am a Landscape Photographer, two very different artistic styles. However we are both looking at landscapes in our work and his incredible use of composition, colour and attention to detail is inspiration that is transferable to my own practice. I believe you can be inspired by anything and that it is foolish to only take inspiration from your own genre, the best type of inspiration can come from anything, only looking at photographic work for inspiration could just lead me to imitate them. 


Fig.4. is of an old railway line going through the Canadian Mountains. 

Fig.4. (Image name, artists last name, 2019) Fig.5. (Image name, artists last name, 2019) Fig.6. (Image name, artists last name, 2019)

Ansel Adams


Ansel Adams was an American pioneer in the world of film photography. He pushed new boundaries and new ways of creating photographic images using film. However he did not start out doing photography straight away, he first taught himself how to play the piano. It was not until he went on a trip to Yosemite National Park where he became fascinated by photography, he then began buying magazines and learning darkroom techniques.  

I first learned about Ansel Adams in BTEC art and design level two. I instantly fell in love with his photographs taking in the scale of the scenery and how isolated the images portray that scene to be. I can't help but wonder what it must have been like photographing such beautiful environments in the past when there wasn’t hundreds of tourist groups taking the same pictures as you. Honestly, I would love to eventually have his life style of travelling to amazing landscapes and incredible locations, it is the main reason why I want to become a travel photographer, to see such environments and to try and capture them in the amazing way Ansel Adams did.

My images

Peter McKinnon


Peter McKinnon Is a famous Canadian photographer/YouTube/coffee maker. He has photographed in many places around the United States and Canada, focusing on the beautiful landscape as well as street and city environments particularly at night, producing some thought provoking work. I love his picture of the Canadian Rocky Mountains with the crystal blue lake catching the reflections of the mountain, you can only imagine the peacefulness being there.

My images




I.A. Magazine. (2019). Star Wars, The Art of Ralph Angus McQuarrie : 100 Concept Art. [online] Available at: https://www.iamag.co/star-wars-the-art-of-ralph-angus-mcquarrie-100-concept-art/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2018].

LensCulture. (2019). LensCulture - Contemporary Photography. [online] Available at: https://www.lensculture.com/ [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].

McKinnon, P. (2019). PETER MCKINNON. [online] PETER MCKINNON. Available at: http://www.petermckinnon.com/ [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].

McQuarrie, R. and Anderson, K. (1997). The illustrated Star Wars universe. New York: Bantam Books.

Newhall, N., Adams, A. and Brower, D. (n.d.). Ansel Adams.