So, I get asked all of the time where my inspiration for photography comes from, and to be honest, it’s probably quite similar to most other visually creative people. Films are big. Music is also big. Other photographers, obviously, are big. However, maybe I have a few strange ones, like old JCPenney catalogs or old advertisements, that you may find interesting. I will add some text to why these things inspire me and how I use them to influence my own work.
Music inspires me in a way that is unlike any other. I prefer listening to music that is mostly instrumental, not because I don’t enjoy vocals, but I find listening to instrumental music more deep. By deep, I mean that just listening can take my mind to a completely different place, and emotions can result from visiting said place. If I had to describe what type of music that does this to me, I have two words that do it best…………hopeful is the first, somber is the second. I WANT to feel something listening to music. Sure there are days where I just want to have fun and sing along to a track, but most days, I actually ENJOY letting my emotions out through listening to music. How does this tie into photography? Well, it’s quite simple. I choose one song for a soundtrack to play while I’m creating photographs. I ask myself, “What type of photographs could I put with this music?” Then, I simply create those photographs.
Here are a few tracks that I’m always playing when I need some inspiration:
I’m going to post some film grabs from some of my favorite directors with some words explaining why I enjoy their work.
Paul Thomas Anderson
I enjoy Paul’s work, because he is so talented at capturing the feeling a human is experiencing. It may be with lighting, or expressions, or movement. When I watch his films, there are scenes where I feel like it’s real life, and not a film. There’s a beauty to that. Not to mention, his composition is so lovely. Here are some film grabs from a couple of his films:
Quentin is one of my favorites, because of his compositions. The way he sees a certain scene is so interesting to me. He is not afraid of close up shots, that typically last a while. His framing of certain characters in an environment is with doors is excellent (like when someone is entering a room or building). He LOVES details, and creates beautiful shots of them, where they are almost a character on their own. Here are some film grabs of his work that I enjoy.
Steven is probably in my top 3, to be honest. Not only because he’s extremely talented, but some of his films are era films from times where I enjoy the styling and colors and furniture and all of that good stuff. What I love most about his work is that his eye is just so classic. Almost like a painter. Here are some shots of his:
Mr. Mendes is on my list of favorites, as well. I love the feel of his work. There are a lot of shots where it feels somber. Here are just a few shots of his work.
Peter is in my top 5, but not for Lord of the Rings! The Lovely Bones and Heavenly Creatures are two of my favorite films of all time. They’re both so different that it’s hard to believe these films came from the same director. That is my favorite thing about Peter. He evolves. He experiments. That is always inspiring to me, if not the most inspiring thing one can do. Here are shots from both of those films.
I will save my favorite for LAST! Yes, Darren Aronofsky is currently my favorite director. His focus on emotions come through SO STRONGLY in his work, and that, in my opinion, is a very difficult task to accomplish, and I feel that he does it so well. He uses a variety of lenses, different colors of light, different lighting situations, and just shows that he will try about anything to create the vision in his mind. Here are some samples of his work.
OLD JCPENNEY CATALOG PAGES
Yes, that’s correct. I grew up with JCPenney catalogs delivered to my home and I always looked at them. I never realized, until maybe in 2015, how much I actually enjoy the colors, expressions, and poses of the subjects. Of course, the style of the times had a lot to do with it, but it’s still fashion photography in a way. The expressions are what really draw me in and currently inspire me to create more colorful and animated photographs through the outfits and expressions. Here are a few examples:
Here are some of my favorite photographers that always inspire me. I’m going to simply link you to their work and include a short description of how they inspire me.
Maria Svarbova – Maria inspires me with her vision. The way she combines colorful scenes with the stillness of humans is so fascinating to me.
Brooke DiDonato – Brooke’s work is simply interesting. There is a curiosity to it that constantly draws me in. It’s like another world.
Joel Meyerowitz – A classic street photographer that has such an interesting eye. His work inspires me to understand the importance of layering.
Gregory Crewdson – Gregory’s work is quite possibly my favorite out there. The mysteriousness and curiosity causes me to question almost every photograph. I love that.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this small list of inspirations of mine! I will likely be constantly updating this post, when I come across new inspirations.
Feel free to comment with some of your favorite inspirations for your work!