Thursday, June 05, 2014

Photographer's Ingredients for Creativity

Inspiration from Photographers

I have many different things that I use to keep me inspired and keep those creative juices flowing. One of the best ways to be inspired is from other photographer's work. One of the photographers I have followed my entire career is William Albert Allard.

There are two things that I continue to learn from him. First I am really inspired by his vision and capturing moments. The thing that makes his work stand out from so many other photographers through the years was he was able to control the exposure in such a way to create a mood with his photos. He is one of the few photographers of his generation that spent most of his entire career shooting color.

When I think of his color photos I think of Allard shaving the exposure ever so slightly to make the reds richer or going the other way and making it more of a pastel.

One thing I admired most about the subjects of Allard's camera was the dignity that is preserved. He often romanticized the characters and made them hero's by the camera angle, the light and the moment he decided to capture for the audience.

When I started out I just thought I too would just pick up the camera and walk out the door and do the same images that he captured. Now I understand even more that William Allard had to get permission to capture those images. He didn't use some technique to squeeze off a frame without them knowing he was there.

Allard wove himself into the fabric of their lives. Once I discovered this about his work I wanted to hear him speak and find out how he got that kind of access.

Recently I was inspired by Christopher Capozziello or as his friends call him "Capi".  Capi decided to do a very personal and intimate story about his relationship with his twin brother Nick who has cerebral palsy. The result was a short film and book. The book The Distance Between Us is something I would recommend to any storyteller.

Willing to tell your own story like Capi did with his brother Nick really will help him going forward in my opinion for a few reasons. First it showed that he was willing to be vulnerable and transparent. You can tell he was careful to protect his brother, but at the same time looked for moments that would be appropriate to share that helped tell of the struggles not only for Nick for also for Capi himself.

Do I have the right to tell anyone's story if I am unwilling to be as transparent as Capi?

Inspiration Gear

It is a very expensive way to get inspired, but I cannot dismiss this as a way to get those juices flowing. I know of photographers who for no other reason than frustrated that they have tried almost everything for inspiration to change over to a new camera system.

One of the primary driving factors of the mirrorless camera is many photographers are finding their present DSLR cameras limiting them in some way. One of the biggest factors is the weight of cameras. Bill Fortney, retired Nikon Rep, is using the Fuji system for this reason. Read his latest blog post Fuji X-System REPORT CARD - One Year In.

Carrying around a lot of heavy gear all day can keep you from wanting to shoot any more, so gear can help keep you inspired.

Inspiration Websites

I go to websites like Dave Black's for inspiration. Dave is always trying to figure out ways to take his vision and capture it using light. He is always pushing the limits using high speed sync, painting with light and studying his subject to find those unique moments that he can capture that sets his work apart from the rest of the industry.

Inspiration from Subject Matter

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/2.8, 1/5

Taking my camera with me every where I go lets the places I visit help to inspire me. Whether I am in Lisbon, Portugal or in my hometown of Roswell, GA I take photos throughout my day.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/3.6, 1/500
Sometimes the photos are just goofy and fun. This I took of us on a air boat in Jacksonville, Florida.

This is a cropped version of the photo below.

What does all this have in common?

Work is what it all has in common and it isn't something that drops into your lap.

Inspiration comes from perspiration.