Way back in November, a friend asked me to speak at a professional photographers’ meeting. He wanted me to speak about how I find inspiration for my work. At the time, August seemed a looonnngggg way off and I agreed. Well, the meeting is tonight. 🙂
It’s been a very interesting and instructional process to think about and clarify what actually does inspire me. No worries, I’m not going to give the whole talk here.
Once portion of it was worth sharing, though. A critical piece to me is the practice of seeing, with a capital S. Really being in a place and moment and seeing beyond the obvious to get at deeper levels of understanding.
On a trip a few years ago, I did what I call the alphabet exercise. I challenged myself to find the entire alphabet in images. Instead of going from main attraction to main attraction, only hitting the highlights, I slowed way down and really had to look deeply to find all the shapes. Some may be a stretch, but that wasn’t the point. The point was slowing down and really seeing, being present.
This quote from photographer Elliott Erwitt says it well:
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. “
How could you slow down and find something interesting in the ordinary this week?