Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Non-traditional things that can inspire a creative mind.

The other day, I began thinking about what inspires me to do what I do. And what I came up with was not really what I would generalize as the usual photographer's inspiration. I always thought it was "supposed" to be the love of photography that inspires me, but instead, when I got honest with myself, it was far from that. But, I have never claimed to be normal. 

First and foremost, let's look at some things that do NOT inspire me at this point in my career.
  • Looking at other photographers' pictures does NOT inspire me to do better work. All this does is depress me, honestly. I start comparing a my own work compared to theirs, and just get down in the dumps. It's like going clothes shopping at a store that only carries the sizes just below my true size. It's just not fair to myself to do this, so I avoid it. 

But, although there are some gut-wrenching inspiration killers, here are things that CAN inspire me (or another artist). 
  • A challenge. Whether it's a lighting challenge, a business challenge, a marketing challenge, or a difficult situation, it's a challenge for me to overcome, and I like it. Sometimes our local arts-for-all organization hosts an art contest, and it's just enough challenge to kick me in the rear. 
  • A good book. When I was reading "Life on the Mississippi," I could visualize every scene in my head. Although I couldn't photograph it just the way I visualized it, it made me want to go out and take pictures of the way things in my town are now so that they won't be forgotten.  
  • Music. This one is a big one for me, and music has been a huge part of my life from early on. In elementary school, I made my own tapes from recording off the radio. In high school, I had a pretty sweet CD collection ranging from the beginnings of alternative rock to country, classic rock , a little classical, and some in between. In college, that expanded to include Red Dirt  country music cds that friends made me, some classic country, and many other bands that my friend Michael and I would discover together. I have friends that our main interest together is musical taste, and we could talk about it for days. I try to play a little guitar, I play air drums, and I like to sing in the car while no one is listening. Regardless, when I hear a great song, I see things- colors, textures, shapes, light. It opens up my emotionally constipated side and allows me to actually feel and experience what's truly going on in my head. If I listen to great music, it makes for better, more intense, pictures.  It also just helps me to have a more joyful life in general. I'm convinced that God provided musical talent for our enjoyment.
  • Art. I haven't played up on this one much, but when I do see a great piece of art, it makes me feel. I need to FEEL to make great pictures. People who can convey a feeling through painting, sculpturing, or other medium amaze and inspire me. I really need to head out to an art museum soon. (Contact me if you want to join!)
  •  Sincere people. When I get to visit with a new person or an old friend who is sincere and I know their story, it makes me want to photograph them and others better. It helps me remember the reason for what I'm doing. Calling an old favorite friend, or meeting a new unique one, is inspiring.
  • Nature and the light in it. The other day I passed a ranch that I pass every morning, but this morning, the cows were by the fence, backlit by the morning light, and it was just beautiful. That's what makes me want to stop and take pictures, and also creates a visual that I want to duplicate in portraits (minus the cows, of course.)

Well, here's my inspiration. What are some of yours? Hopefully this will help you feel a little inspired to get out and take some pretty pictures, make some awesome music, write a neat blog, paint, or just do  your thing and be yourself. :)

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