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Photographers Share Their Influential Films

Favorite Influential Films

Photographers Share Their Influential Films

Five photographers share the films that influenced them most.


Amy Stein's Five Favorite Films

Blue Velvet

David Lynch inspires me because he is so completely in charge of his vision. He presents a surface so unsettlingly surreal you are haunted by the prospect of the more disturbing substance that must lie just beneath. Lynch then makes us the frightened and titillated voyeur as he reveals that substance to be more fantastically evil than we could have imagined. [Buy]


Do the Right Thing

This film is so of the place and moment that it manages to freeze time. It vibrates with a color, energy and ambiguity that make it as vital and powerful today as the first time I saw it in 1989 as a wide-eyed suburban teenager with massive bangs. [Buy]



Steven Spielberg gives us only a tanker truck, a desert road and Dennis Weaver in a Plymouth Valiant and manages to create 74 minutes of pure tension and terror. A very important lesson in less-is-more. [Buy]


Dog Days

Ulrich Seidl's take on the humor and disquieting unease of suburban life was like catnip for my eyes. The slow boil narrative ambles with a constant threat of something bigger, but never gives into our need for the spectacular. This movie showed me that intense and perverse beauty exists in the mundane. [Buy]


Fast, Cheap and Out of Control

Errol Morris' documentary excites by challenging the conventions of documentary filmmaking. The mixing of images and narration unites four seemingly disparate stories in common themes of dominance, dominion and self-determination. His atypical approach to storytelling has had a profound impact on my work. [Buy]


Amy Stein is a photographer and teacher based in New York City. Her work explores our evolving isolation from community, culture and the environment. She has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is featured in many private and public collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Nevada Museum of Art, SMoCA and the West Collection. In 2006, Amy was a winner of the Saatchi Gallery/Guardian Prize for her Domesticated series. In 2007, she was named one of the top fifteen emerging photographers in the world by American Photo magazine and she won the Critical Mass Book Award. A monograph of her series Domesticated will be published in fall 2008. This forthcoming book won the best book award at the 2008 New York Photo Festival. Amy was raised in Washington, DC, and Karachi, Pakistan. She holds a BSc in Political Science from James Madison University and an MSc in Political Science from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In 2006, Amy received her MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Currently, Amy teaches photography at Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

We asked Stein to present a snapshot of five films that have had an impact on her creatively.

Amy Stein's Watering Hole and a scene from Blue Velvet

Amy Stein's "Watering Hole" (left) and a scene from Blue Velvet

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