How much inspiration does one need? Endlessly much and provided by just opening the eyes. But there are these events that provide a high dose of inspiration and one of them was the Art Paris fair last Easter weekend.
Take only the image above, the flying house. It is a beautiful creation made of a photograph, giving the feeling “The Little Prince” from Saint-Exupéry will look out of the window just now. And there was much more work, just as inspiring and opening new creative perspectives to photography with galleries from all over the world exhibiting.
Ever thought of going to an exhibition and photographing the exhibition’s artwork? It can be an inspiring photographic safari wandering around and capturing the paintings and photographs of the artists, reflecting by doing that what they do to you and how they can inspire you in your own work. That way you can travel through Africa, America and Europe, art history and old masters while taking the essence with you to make the next steps for yourself.
You can make it even a team building event, visiting with your colleagues an art exhibition, everybody photographing what he/she likes and understand that way how they see things their own way. Or go with your photography course to do the same thing and learn from each other. There are endless opportunities to play with it.
Inspiration is an infinite source accessible to all; one just needs to keep the eyes open.
As a response to an earlier post about Bill Brandt’s street photography, Steve Kenny and Jeanette DeMain provided some more inspirational street photographers to be worth looking at and they really are.
There is Jacob Riis, a Danish American who lived from 1849 to 1914. He is also called a social documentary photographer, trying to help the impoverished in New York City with his photographic and journalistic talent. So, he might be best characterized as a social reformer with a camera as his tool. His focus might not have been on composition and light in the artistic way, yet he saw a different light, the light in people and he wanted the light of these hidden away impoverished people and their life situation to be visible for all.
Swiss born and after World War II to the US emigrated photographer Robert Frank is another inspirational photographer, capturing the spirit of America in his book The Americans. He saw American life as overemphasized on money and America often as a bleak and lonely place (Wikipedia). While trying to capture the soul of America as he experienced it, he wielded a great artistic eye, reflecting in the composition of his photographs.
And then Dennis Hopper, an artistic multi talent. His snapping away is not only capturing famous people he was socializing and working with, his photographs also capture the spirit of time whenever he saw it. It might be even harder to acknowledge the photographic talent of Dennis Hopper when on most of his photographs are celebrities and one thinks its already a good photo because of that, yet they are also well composed and just taken at the right moment.
Between all these men finally a woman, Vivian Maier. Maier was a amateur street photographer who worked as a nanny in Chicago for 40 years. Her photographs remained unknown until they were discovered by John Maloof, a historian and collector only two years before she died. He said about Vivian Maier, “She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone.” Now look at her photos and see how great they are.
All these examples of great photographers, their journeys and their art can be of great inspiration to all of us. They show that art happens just in front of us, on our doorsteps, in our daily lives, we only need to start seeing it. And they show also that street photography is an important part of history, telling the story of time and people and sometimes they change the lives for some people too.
So, as mentioned in the earlier post, go out and snap away, make street photography part of your photography courses, go on photographic safari in your home town and find new Big 5 everyday!
Sometimes we enter a room full with people and we feel that there is somehow an undercurrent, something is going on, although everybody seems to enjoy him(her)selve and having fun. This situation occurs also in meetings and work teams, but it is not clear what it is. Something is not right, but one cannot say what it is.
One-on-one conversations are planned to find out what is going on, but they don’t unearth the real reason of the disturbance in the team. The undercurrent develops to be a surface current and irritations pile up. Still words cannot fix it, there is something nobody is talking about or nobody is conscious that it is there. The situation has become very unpleasant. The team can hardly function.
What now? Photography can fix it. What the mind is not able to tell, the unconscious is more than capable to show, because it knows where the problem is and how it can be fixed. Photography becomes the voice of the unconscious. It helps teams to find out what they are struggling with, helps leaders to find the right way in guiding their teams and it is at the end also fun and makes it a very pleasant experience. Team buildings with photography and leadership training with photography are only two ways in helping teams through photography. There are many more.
And what works for work teams works also at home for families, friend groups, dance groups, football teams and wherever people would like to fix unpleasant situations.
When you visit a museum, where do you stand to look at a painting? Do you stand right in front of the wall, your nose almost touching it or do you stand looking from a distance? Well, if you want to see exactly every brush stroke, you got to come close, but when you want to see the entire masterpiece, you got to watch from a distance. Talking about an accident is easier when you were witnessing it rather than being involved yourself. You might become emotional while talking when you are one of the victims.
These are two everyday life examples, that having a distance allows a better view on things in their complexity. One can “walk” around a problem or case and see all its aspects from different angles, which result in deeper insights. Innovative leaders will practice that method and photographers do that as well, constantly. Pretty much every camera has a zoom and if not in the camera, the photographer has most likely a zoom lens. And what are they doing? Zooming in and out constantly to capture the subject the way they experience it, some more closely, others more from a distance. A photographer has always an external perspective and that makes it possible that they can photograph scenes one can hardly look at. Like being a victim of an accident or witnessing an accident, being a witness gives the distance and the insights.
What are your resolutions for this year? Do more sports, eat less and healthier and spend more time with family and friends? What are your resolutions for this year regards photography? Do photography courses, travel to photograph more of the world, get a new camera, make more photo books or learn how to photograph at night?
What came first, aspiration or inspiration? Did you cherish the hope of becoming a visual artist and you happened to have a camera at home or were you inspired to capture moments and you developed the hope of winning an award?
Does it matter? As long as you enjoy photographing, you will be inspired to achieve great things in life, in arts and elsewhere. Take your camera and snap what you see, share it and enjoy the captured moments forever.