Where do you get your inspiration? Do you feel like you’ve hit the wall with your photography from time to time?
There’s no doubt that photography is a pretty specific form of art. It focuses on the existing moments and scenes, and it’s up to us to interpret and capture them. Each of us has our own vision and use different methods to do it. While it’s certainly great that photography is specific and different from other visual arts, it can sometimes be a problem, too.
Photographers tend to be isolated in the world familiar to them. We mainly get inspired by other photographer’s work. And although it’s very versatile – it’s not limitless. This is one of the reasons we can get stuck in a rut. Because of this, photographer Ted Forbes created a fantastic, inspirational video to encourage you to seek inspiration beyond photography.
Ted gives an interesting point how photography is different than sculpting or painting. With these, you start with a blank canvas, a mass of clay or anything like that, and create something from scratch. I believe that here, only your imagination is the limit. With photography, it’s rather opposite – you’re capturing something that already exists. And although there are many ways to capture something – they are not limitless. Also, photographers mainly look up to other photographers and get inspired by them. There’s nothing wrong about it, of course, but sometimes you need a different approach. You need to get out of the familiar world.
In the video, Ted speaks about craft beer makers and chefs. Until relatively recently, microbreweries weren’t popular. Today, it seems this industry is taking off fast, and brewers often seek inspiration in history. As for the chefs, it’s very similar. The food culture has become different in the past decade or so. Chefs are now rock stars. And they also seek inspiration in other areas – art, history, or nature. He refers to the series Brew Masters and Chef’s Table, where you can hear the stories of these people who build themselves up, sometimes more than once. They all felt stuck a couple of times but found new inspiration and rebuild themselves. Does the feeling of getting stuck seem familiar? I’m sure it does, it happened to us all.
In the situations like this, it’s important that you seek for inspiration. And sometimes, inspiration in the world of photography just isn’t enough. This is why you need to look up to the chefs as mentioned earlier and brewers and look for the inspiration outside your field. You can search it in painting or sculpting. Movies and TV series are a great source of inspiration. Poetry, too. If you enjoy listening to music, it can be your well of ideas. In my case, this is precisely what influences me. An emotion I feel when listening to a certain song, the lyrics, the music itself – it sometimes drives feelings inside of me I didn’t know existed, and it makes me want to capture them. So even when I feel stuck with photography, music always moves me. It brings fresh ideas and makes me move on.
According to Ted, finding inspiration beyond photography could lead you towards creating something more unique. It could make you stand out and bring something fresh onto the scene. I understood his message this way, and I believe he’s right.
There are many forms of art, and each of them can inspire your photography and make you do more, do better, and stand out. Or maybe, it doesn’t have to be art at all. It can be nature, a person, an event. For me, it’s music. And what is it that inspires you outside photography? Which form of art influences your photography the most?
[WHY WE MUST LOOK BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHY | The Art of Photography]