More and more “how to” photography blogs are coming online everyday. And hallelujah for that. Seriously. Technical education in photography is more accessible today than ever before. New shooters are being born from nearly nothing overnight (a Flickr account and a $400 camera anyone?). Growth and development is accelerated by new technology, watching videos, reading the insights of art buyers and photo editors, and on and on. Hell, even education in the business-of-photography is infinitely more available today than ever before. God bless the series of tubes. I truly love the new sense of accessibility for anyone willing put in a little legwork. Again, hallelujah.
But before any critics get started with me, hashing out all the counterpoints to the above is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is not about the merits of all the great, traditional photography-related stuff that’s available online. It’s about the unmistakable absence of an important factor in all those “how to” blogs. That factor is the lack of discussion of artistic inspiration and the challenges faced by such a profession that depends on it. How do we, as artists, harness and hone our creative vision? It is innate? Is it learned? What are our struggles? In what forms do they present themselves to us?[Cue the crickets]
The relative lack of such discussion in the photo blogosphere should be of no surprise, really. It’s clearly the toughest part of the art equation to describe and discuss, as so adroitly illustrated here by my choppy, fragmented introduction. All the more reason to continue with the mission.
That said–and armed only with my own ignorance and a willingness to go somewhat naked–I’m going to embark on a personal challenge to begin sharing the roots of my own experiences and challenges in a constant search for inspiration. I’ll call this forthcoming series, for lack of a better idea, Inspired By_Challenged By. In truth, I wanted to call it something even more corny like Inspired Confessions, but I realized that was just a defense mechanism trying to get me to downplay the reality of what I’m trying to get at. Earlier tonight in the drafting process, I even had the horrible working title of something all-inclusive like What Makes Us Tick. I quickly realized that such a title was kind of bullshit and/or presumptive. How could I claim any knowledge of YOUR inspirations, motivations, or challenges?
In the end I’ve decided on calling the series simply Inspired By_Challenged By out of go ol’ plain honesty. It is what it is. Over the next short days/weeks/months, I’ll aim to occasionally share things that, for one reason or another, get my brain bubbling or, conversely, get my panties in a knot. Whether it’s a photo, a moment, a realization, a book, a song, a magazine, an artist; or something more chewy like a personal struggle, a stumble, or some downright strife. Anything will be fair game, especially thoughts or ruminations thereof.
—[Ironically, my first confession/challenge is already upon me: Why do I feel the need to name this blog series? Or even make it a series at all? Why can’t I just type away each day here on this blog when I’m inspired or challenged?
Honest answer: I like order. Order amidst chaos. I sometimes, however, aim to be too systematic in my approach to creativity. Too formulaic.
I’m working to change that…]