Machu Picchu, Inspired by Bruce Barnbaum

"Good artists copy, great artists steal." - Pablo Picasso


A few years ago I took a workshop with Bruce Barnbaum. During the workshop Bruce showed a lot of his prints and talked about the art of seeing and creating. My photo, Machu Picchu, Clouds and Birds, was inspired by a print Bruce showed from his first Machu Picchu trip. It has stuck in my mind ever since, and I occasionally go to his website to view it. What captivated me about his photo were the mountains peeking through the clouds and how he used the wall to anchor the scene.

The thought occurred to me that I am stealing Bruce's idea, that the image is his vision, not mine. In a way, it's true. I probably would not have thought of taking this particular photo had I not seen his. But the two photos are different. I chose to shoot the wall straight on, while Bruce's wall is angled slightly. I remember trying to capture the birds flying up in the clouds and around the ruins. Using a handheld camera, I was able to take several shots in the hope of capturing a bird swooping around the ruins. I believe Bruce was shooting with his 4x5 view camera, so it would not have been practical for him to include flying birds. And, of course, clouds are never the same.