When Walt Whitman wrote Leaves of Grass he was very likely reclining half naked by a quiet river bank. When Van Gogh painted Starry Night he had, at some point, looked up at the stars and thought, “I should paint that.” Even fashion photographers like Richard Avedon, whose Dovima with Elephants is probably the most iconic fashion photograph of all time, got his inspiration from visiting the elephants at the circus. For these artists, the source of inspiration was always out in the real world. It was always about the way real things played against real light. Somewhere along the way we forgot how to look at the world this way.
Unlike Mr. Whitman and Van Gogh, most artists today get their inspiration from other artists online. When we get the itch to create something, the first thing we’ll do is jump on Pinterest and start gathering images of other people’s work we’d like to emulate. But could we be shooting ourselves in the creative foot here? After all, you may be able to emulate the style and mood of an image, but will you ever be able to copy the creativity? Could paying too close attention to what other artists are doing actually make you less creative? It seems so.
For one thing, getting all your inspiration from other artists’ work will lock you in a cycle of predictability, where everyone recreates the exact same images over and over again until they become cliches. Think back to the broken doll fashion images you saw everywhere just a few years ago. Sure, the first few artists who did this were really onto something. But by the time it was replicated a million times over, understandably it wasn’t as interesting or thought provoking.
The only way to start thinking outside of the box is to broaden your scope of creative references. By looking for your muse in unobvious places you will be able to break away from what everyone else is doing and carve you own vision into your work. It’s easy to look at other artist’s work for inspiration, almost too easy. In fact, the very notion of NOT using Pinterest or Fashion Gone Rogue to find ideas feels downright weird. It’s where we’re comfortable. Perhaps it’s time to stretch beyond our comfort zone. After all, inspiration is everywhere. Imagine doing a photoshoot inspired by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, or the light breaking through a crystal, or even your childhood dreams. Imagine producing a shoot inspired by the flight of birds, or the movement of clouds. The point is, just imagine.
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Let Something Unexpected Inspire Your Next Photoshoot