Ansel Adams‘ negatives were found at a garage sale just 10 years ago and are now authenticated. Bet that guy is doing somersaults!
Just a little something to browse for inspiration. People throwing themselves into the landscape. What I like about these works is while the concept is similar or identical the feel and execution are largely different and unique.
First on the list is Laurie Tumer. I really like to show her work in my classes. I really like the way she takes something so simple and usually so wrong and makes it really work. Her image Ailanthus, 2000 is probably the best shadow portrait I have ever seen and believe me I have seen this type of shot over and over again. That is the key making it pop and she really does. To see Ailanthus click on the link. It’s 3rd on the left. Enjoy!
Barbra and Michael Leisgen
Here you have a series of portraits/self portraits in which this couple simply added themselves to the contours of the landscapes. It is also very simply executed. This concept has been used since with great success by a Scandinavian photographer. Exaclty the same concept, but entirely different feel.
Unfortunately I can’t remember his name and can’t find him on google. If you know who I am talking about please post his name, he showed a few years ago at Malmöhus.
Just one more reason we should be skeptical of today’s photography.
BP Oil Spill manipulated for the PR.
On TED Ken Robinson speaks about education and the need for change in the way we perceive and structure education. In particular our need to embrace creativity.
We have every reason to add creative endeavors into our lives and daily experience. In my opinion this will do more than just make us more creative and productive people. It will most importantly enhance our empathy and understanding towards ourselves but also towards others. We will be more forgiving of people who do things different. We will see the potential that different has, we will see the needs of different and be more accommodating as we will see the riches different can promise, its unique value. We will be less inclined to try and squeeze people into the box we (society) deems correct just because. We will judge differently and hopefully more honestly towards ourselves and to others.
So whether it is photography, painting, engineering, medicine…. be more creative dare to be more you!
There are other places to find inspiration for your photography besides looking at photographs. Movies for instance. Not every movie will inspire you, but there are few that I am sure stand out.
My most recent favorite is The Assassination of Jesse James. Clearly this doesn’t happen often considering my most recent is three years old. I loved this movie altogether for its new approach on the subject of Jesse James, a psychological look at this person and the people he was involved with. In contrast to the customary shoot em up, Western interpretation we know so well.
The cinematography from that film took the emotional and psychological state of Jesse James and enhanced it with spot on visual interpretation. Almost every scene was breath taking, emotional, and what I said at the time, like a photograph. In particular the scene in which Jesse looks out across the foggy landscape to the hill where a silhouetted figure begins to approach. The feeling, atmosphere, silence in that scene mirrored so well the slide into the depressive, soon to be out of control state James was headed for. You felt his loneliness, his confusion, the fact that for the first time he felt vulnerable and out of control.It was all falling apart for him when he never thought it would. All of this was portrayed in a few seconds of reel across a foggy field. The scenography, said it, the visuals said it, not his words.
Watching that scene gave me the urge to travel far and wide to photograph these atmospheres, plainly and with out manipulation. To see the beauty in the simple, unadulterated. Because in my opinion THAT is what a photograph is all about. In the simplest of terms portraying a feeling, an atmosphere, telling a story even when there isn’t one.
My second all time most inspiring film in terms of photography is The Graduate for obvious reasons. Mike Nichols went against the rules, revolutionizing how movies were filmed. Mrs. Robinson’s leg framing in Hoffman as he sweats with indecision at her indecent proposal. The isolation as he laid at the bottom of the pool staring back at his weird, out of touch parents. Simple but very affective changes in filmmaking. Experimenting gone right. Without Nichol’s new approach that film would never have become the classic it is today. It was the uncharacteristic approach to filming the scenes that gave this film it’s edge.
Music videos can also be a source of inspiration, not only because they can be something out of a dream or a nightmare with their often surreal theme and disjointed plot, and still they some how make sense, but also because of the occasional simplicity in which they are produced. It has always been my feeling getting your point across with as few props as possible will be and is the ultimate challenge. You have so little to distract the viewer with. Either it works or it doesn’t. No inbetween.
I came across this video today on Facebook, Yuna “Decorate”. What struck me was how simple it was and yet very emotional. More importantly how well it matched the song and it’s meaning with nothing more than a white, blown out background and an artists expression. Never mind it is a homemade video. While this video will not win any awards it is a great example of simplicity, of working with what you have and making it work for you.
I must also mention that while this video was heavily edited it still felt natural.
Share you movie and video greats with each other. We all need inspiration on a daily basis.
I got this from Abel the other day and I think he is on to something!
Another thing. I borrowed a SUPER book from the library, “The Master Printer’s” by Steve Macleod. It’s mainly about darkroom technique, but what is crazy good is that he shows lots of his prints and explains exactly what he did. How he cropped the photo, and why. Where he dodged and where he burnt. Where he gave some extra exposure to give weight or balance. Why he soften or harden a photo… Why he vignettes some photos… etc… I am learning so much from it, because the same work is to be done when digitally editing, right. I will buy the book. Check it out if it interests you, one month from now in the library.
Magnum’s photo archives are, for the first time, open to the public. So if you’re passing through Austin Texas it’s a must see! Photos from 1930 to 2004 with all of the legends in position. Having seen Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa’s prints at Louisiana I believe this will do no less than blow your mind.