Running takes inspiration from a variety of sources. Photographers he knew in person or encountered in printed pages helped teach him his craft, and encouraged him to grow. His models responded to him as he photographed them, and in turn he responded to them. Through a mutual dance, they created the photographs.
Excerpts from his journal provide a context for the photographs in his own words.
With very little formal photographic training, Running voraciously read books by other photographers, who taught him technique, encouraged him to experiment, and gave him ideas about what constituted a strong, dynamic, and compelling photograph. In his journals and in his oral history he mentioned Paul Strand, Bruce Davidson, Edward Weston, Irving Penn, and Al Satterwhite as particularly inspiring. Throughout his career, Running amassed art and photography books, resulting in an enormous collection.
One local photographer played a very significant role in Running’s life: Sue Bennett. Running first met Bennett when she was a photography student at NAU. Over the next few years, their relationship changed from mentor and mentee to partnership, in both profession and in life. They traveled together to many locations in the U.S. but also outside of it, to Mexico, the Middle East, and Europe, often shooting the same subjects but with different eyes and perspectives. They assisted each other on commercial shoots and his journals reveal, encouraged each other in their editorial aspirations.
No less inspiring to him are his models. Running has long been fascinated with the female form. His work with models through the years has captured everything from female body builders to erotica. He has photographed his models running, dancing, practicing yoga, and gazing into the distance of the Colorado Plateau. He has used them to create scenes for clothing catalogs, for magazine articles on biologists, and to provide an intimate interplay with the natural environment. In many instances his models have become good friends—women (and the occasional man) he might see years later around town would be able to converse with him as if no time had passed. Some of his former models have written letters to him thanking him for his influence on their lives. The relationships built between this photographer and his models are more than fleeting.