alan little’s weblog

inspiration, motivation

14th September 2004 permanent link

Ways to get inspiration and motivation for photography.

After Jack was born I had a spell of taking very few photos. It was partly because with a baby in the house, of course I had less free time and spare energy than before. It was more because I took a lot of pictures of Jack just after he was born, and dealing with all the film, scanning it, trying to get decent prints, was so laborious and frustrating I got discouraged.

Kyle Cassidy says about his beloved Leica:

like a lot of photography, it's psychological. It goes something like this "Hey, I have a Leica. I must be a good photographer. (snap snap snap)" Doesn't always work but sometimes it's worth a try. If you're a decent photographer and having a Leica makes you want to take more pictures, then it's a good thing.

… which was also my real reason for getting my new Nikon D70 and Epson R800: if I can spend more time taking pictures, and less time faffing about with scanners and photoshop, I’ll be a happier and more motivated photographer. It seems to be working. In the two months I’ve had the D70 I’ve taken a thousand pictures. Practice, practice, practice.

Also, look at great photographs. Today I discovered Paul Caponigro’s marvellous work; and, in a brief and precious baby-free half hour in a bookshop on the way home from work, looked at a couple of books by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Andreas Gursky that literally had me gasping in wonder as I turned the pages.

I try not to overanalyse that sort of reaction: I prefer to just experience. Looking at pictures isn’t left brain time for me, even though I might, theoretically, I suppose, be able to improve my own pictures if I could see what it is that these guys are doing. I can sort of see what’s going on with Gursky: something about making the three dimensional into geometric patterns on a flat plane, and something special about his colours. But HCB: the prints in the book aren’t even particularly good, but some of his compositions are just magic in some way that’s completely beyond my left brain’s ability to comprehend. My right brain likes them though. Both Gursky and HCB have the great photographer ability that most impresses me: the ability to produce fascinating images out of completely mundane things I wouldn’t even look twice at.

related entries: Photography

all text and images © 2003–2008