[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I’ve sat down to write this post so many times, and never managed to write more than a line or two. How can I define something as intangible as inspiration? Obviously it’s the thing that drives the compulsion to pick up my camera – something beyond the paying client with the date in the diary. The paying client means I must pick up my camera, but there’s something in the background that makes me think I want to capture things in a certain way. What drives this background thing? What inspires me to remain creative?
The Decisive Moment
I’m a sentimental old bean. I like to get to know a couple or a family before I take their photos. After a chat I’ll have a think about how best to capture their character, and a couple of years of shooting experience has led me to the realisation that I do this best when I am just giving people basic suggestions of how to stand, and letting them do the rest. A famous photographer (Andre Cartier-Bresson) once referred to this as ‘the decisive moment’. This is the moment that I love.
Photographs Are Stories
I see photography as story-telling. The pictures don’t have any words to accompany them, and they’re not created – they’re real. My mum has a large frame filled with black and white photos from her childhood. Most were taken with her mother’s ancient box brownie, on a beach in Great Yarmouth. My grandfather’s white vest tucked into his high-waisted trousers, and Grandma in a glamorous bathing suit with dark curls tumbling around my face. My mother, a small child looking exactly like my own daughter, riding on a donkey. This was in the 1960s, and to me it’s like looking through a social history document. I love it. I wonder how my holiday snaps, the ones that I bother to dig out my pro camera for, will be considered in 60 years. Will my own grandchildren love to stare at them in 2067?
Sometimes it’s just a time and a place. A landscape that overwhelms me, a child’s face that seems to shine with innocence and grace, the form of a body that is so perfect, the moment when two people exchange simple words and become one. I suppose this is the decisive moment once again. Quite often it’s a sky for me. I used to drive home from work at dusk in the late spring, staring at shafts of light breaking over the crests of hills. I always wanted to paint it, but I’m a terrible painter. Instead I can grab my camera and try.
The First 10,000 Photos are the Worst
Photography is one of those things, like skiing and cooking, that you never stop learning. I got interested because I wanted to document my kids growing up, and then I wanted to provide that service to other families. What I never expected was that I would start to see the world differently. Like the clouds before, sometimes I see something and feel compelled to take a photo of it. And then I’d experiment with how to make it look different and end up taking 30 photos of one thing that I liked the look of. Every time I pick up my camera I learn something new. It’s about experimentation and growth, and how exciting that can be. And sometimes I come back to a photo and think about what I could do differently next time, or if it could be edited in a way that I wouldn’t usually do.
So what inspires me?
Simply put, everything.