Inspiration comes from a variety of sources, but I'm guessing that seeing the works of others has always been big for you. Seeing someone else's work probably is what got you interested in photography to begin with. So what gets your creativity flowing? For me, though my work in photography resides in the Advertising / Editorial realm, inspiration for my work comes in the form of photojournalism.
From the beginning, I always wanted to be the guy that could walk around the street and capture life with his Leica, yet the photo gods decided my talents be best used elsewhere. Maybe it’s because my social awkwardness, my aversion to being around conflict, or the fact that the idea of camping terrifies me. Nonetheless, my ability and my heart live on different levels when it comes to being a photojournalist. However, I draw inspiration from the images many photo j’s have shot, be it during a foreign conflict, local event, heck… anything where life is real and void of awareness of a camera. All to often it feels as though the subject is as addressed to the camera as the viewer is to its result, but that is where the true skill shows in this profession. Being in the situation, absorbing what it has to offer, and quietly backing out of it (often with the added goal of staying alive) are foreign concepts to my world. I may not ever use these skills on set to create my images, but in no way does that diminish my appreciation for them.
When I was in college, my wife (girlfriend at the time) got me the book, “Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs” for Christmas. At the time I thought it would make an interesting coffee table book, or conversation starter. Fast forward 10 years, and it sits next to my desk and I look at it quite frequently to know that there is a skill and courage far greater than mine that has shared the love of photography.
I encourage you to go to you local bookstore (if those still exist) and have a look at it. Some of the images are tough to take in, but I guarantee it will give you a greater appreciation for where photography has been and teach you where it can go.
So Fstoppers, let's talk about this. What is your favorite photography book or form of inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.