Finding inspiration

The question I’m most often asked is where I find the inspiration for my creative fine art photographs. It’s a question which, if I’m honest, I find quite difficult to answer because I don’t go looking for inspiration – the pictures find me!

My first love is wildlife. I can spend hours in my teensy tiny garden just observing the insects and birds. How they feed, how they mate, how they grow, how they communicate……….their worlds fascinate me and if I manage to capture an aspect of their life on film (aka SD card!) I feel like I’ve won the lottery 😊.

When it comes to my composite images, there are two ways in which the pictures find me. The first is through things I see, often while out walking my little dog. For example, one of our favourite haunts is a public footpath down by a local river and I pass a bank containing exposed tree roots. They are gnarled, twisted and interesting and it fascinated me that despite their precarious position they were anchoring huge trees to the earth, feeding them, watering them and giving them life. As I walked, I thought about the things which anchored me as a human being and nature is a large part of what sustains me. I am in integral part of the landscape and it was this realization which became the image ‘Rooted’.

Not Waving But Drowning

The second way in which images find me, is through my own life experiences. “Fine-art photography is photography created in line with the vision of the photographer as artist, using photography as a medium for creative expression. The goal of fine-art photography is to express an idea, a message, or an emotion” source Wikipedia. Our lives are interspersed with experiences, both positive and negative, it’s just a case of interpreting those experiences onto film (aka SD card) in a way which is both meaningful and asesthetically pleasing.

Having said that images find me they don’t come along like buses at regular intervals! I can have periods where I have so many ideas for photographs it’s overwhelming, and other periods where my imagination is like a desert full of tumbleweed 😉. No-one is on form all the time, and as creative people can be prone to emotional overload and exhaustion I personally think it’s healthy when we have down time. During the times where my imagination is in overdrive and I have way too many ideas to ever physically produce, I find writing my plans for photographs down useful so that I can come back to the list when I have more time.

The key to creativity is finding your passion. It’s capturing on film that which you already love, and which motivates and drives you. I am passionate about nature and wildlife, so capturing that is a joy. I also like to talk about myself endlessly, so becoming a self-portrait artist and depicting my life on film wasn’t exactly a stretch 😁. Having said all that, it still took time for me to find my niche and I tried just about every genre of photography before I found the right fit. I felt a huge expectation to be a landscape photographer (especially living in the Lake District) and it took courage to admit, even to myself, that it bored me rigid! Conversely, there was little encouragement to be a fine art photographer and it again took courage to head in a direction which many thought was the wrong track.

No-one said it was going to be easy, but if you find and follow your passion it’s impossible to go wrong. It’s not a recipe for success and acclaim, but even if no-one but you ever sees your pictures you will have at least loved taking them…………and isn’t that the goal?

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