Photography Discussions: Inspiration

6 min read

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Mrs-Durden's avatar
For the past year we've been hosting monthly Photography Debates at CRPhotography. However, 12 months later, it seems we've covered most of the 'big' debates, and would be getting too specific if we tried to continue finding new topics. So we're shifting gears: instead of 'debates' we just want to promote a specific discussion for the month. We wanna hear your opinions, engage with you about them, and see you engage with each other as well! So here's a new topic of this transformed series:

Inspiration: Where do you find yours?

  • Tell us about the process by which you find inspiration for your photography!

  • Do you think there is a problem with using other peoples' work as an inspiration for yours? When do we draw the line and say 'plagiarism' is occurring?

  • Is it better to just go out and shoot and hope inspiration will happen on the spot, or plan out ideas before you schedule a shoot?

  • Do ideas/concepts have to be 'new' in order to be interesting or good?

  • Are there 'cliches' you believe should be avoided in photography?

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Lorelei-Photographie's avatar

I do not think there is anything "better" to do - go out and find inspiration there or plan ideas beforehand. It all depends on each individual and what s/he tries to accomplish. A street photographer better look and find it on the spot. I on the other hand, do a lot of prepared shots for my portraits. Usually, I find an idea, asks someone if they'd be interested, and then we choose a place, clothes, make up necessary for the idea to pass in the image. I used not to, to train just getting nice pictures technically, or nice expressions, but now I feel I'm at a place where I need to focus more on ideas I want to convey.

Where do I find my ideas? Mostly in what I love, or things that touch me, anger me, etc. I love role playing and steampunk look, so I decided to create a project around that. Now for a while I have been thinking about discrimination, so I'lve started to shoot a bit on that too. I usually just think and jolt ideas down in a notebook, first on what I want to say, then on visual means to represent it, and I let it grow until I have a better image in my head before doing any actual shooting. I want to work more on that, I feel like there is to much left to randomness in my pictures still.

I think all the images I see inspire me, but in a more inconscious way. I rarely think, "I love this picture, let's try to do the same" (through I think it's a good exercice, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as we are honest and link to the person's work if we put it online, s/he found the idea and should be credited for that). It's more, "Oh, I love the use of light here, I'm guessing it's so beautiful because they did X, I should try this angle/technique in a portrait". I add it to the list of things I need to work on / try out.

As for new ideas - well. Obviously there are subjects that are more often photographed than others (especially in nature). I think it's okay - we should just photograph what we love, and if it's something a lot of people love to photograph too, there is nothing wrong with that. I do love to see new concepts, because it makes me think and react more. Something I have seen a thousand times, even if the picture is good, will often bore me. There was a point where I just couldn't look at waterdrops and ladybugs anymore, I just felt like they were everywhere. But  I think even the same idea will not be conveyed in the same way by different artists, based on their sensibility. I don't especially try to be original or not, I just try to do what I love.