Now this influence may seem a bit strange. One of the biggest influences in my photography is technical drafting. Yep, that's right. It doesn't make much sense at face value but it has had a massive impact on how I create and view photography.
During high school I was introduced to the skill of technical drawing/drafting. It was a class all about pure perfection of technique. There was a single correct aesthetic to writing. All lines had to be sharp and clean. Smudges were essentially outlawed. Angles had to be perfect. Line weights had to be consistent and meaningful. The classes were exercises in acute attention to detail and emphasizing perfection. I was all for every aspect of these classes. So much so, that I took 7 semesters of drafting/architecture throughout my 4 years of high school. I even went so far as to enroll in classes at the rival high school to take a class from a more strict drafting teacher.
When I went to college my path was set to earn an architectural degree. Halfway through my very first semester something changed and I realized that I couldn't see myself pursuing that career in the future. I ended up switching over to the college of art to study photography at the beginning of my second year. I quickly realized that there was a major disconnect in how I interacted with art compared to the vast majority of my peers and instructors.
In the world of art perfection seemed to be an almost worthless endeavor. Technicality was barely taught and never expected to be mastered. Your print is out of focus? Meh who cares, does the feeling come across? In that case it's perfect! Does the figure you drew or painted actually look like a realistic depiction? No? well I guess that's just your unique style. Embrace it!
These ideas didn't register for me. I wanted everything to look as expected. The best representations possible. Clean as can be, no smudges or unintended strokes or flourishes! I struggled with this concept through the entirety of my schooling. There were times where instructors and I clashed. I struggled a lot with the concept of what art could possibly be and what was worth creating or showing to people.
My photographic style at that point and even to this day started to become stylized. I was investigating the natural world in front of me, but not in a documentary type light. My images became a study of details presented artistically. I learned how to make choices about how I wanted to present the subject. I still chose to try and make my art as technically perfect as I possibly could. Focus and contrast are controlled deliberately. Color is adjusted in a way that may not exactly be representative of reality, but may unravel detail that would be hidden from normal human sight.
I strive my best to present only the best work I possibly can. If even something small is technically off even though the rest of the image seems strong I will do what I can to resolve the issue, or I just wont be willing to show the work. It's as simple as that!
During my time in art school there were always those dreaded 3 hour critique sessions during the photography classes. As soon as you walked in the room that day you would scramble to claim the "best" wall space. My criteria for the "best" space was determined by when I thought that part of the wall would be discussed. Did I want to just get the crit over with first thing, or drag on my torture...