One thing I, and so many other artists, sometimes struggle with is: how to find inspiration? When you’ve got the urge to create something awesome, but are running dry on ideas, it can be super frustrating! But below I have some tips that should help you build up a well of ideas to keep you going on and on!
Present, Past and Future
Lot’s of people look toward the past for inspiration. This can be great, as there are so many great photogs who’ve come before us. It’s important to know what’s contemporary as well. Find people who are currently guiding the conversation around photography, and whose work you admire. Follow them closely!
Find inspiration in other mediums. 2D art, film, graphic design (personally I love looking at packaging) and consider how these could influence or coincide with photographic elements.
Go to museums. This helps with #1 by exposing you to examples of both past and contemporary photographic artists, trends and movements. It also helps with #2 since many museums house works of art spanning many different mediums.
Many major museums have a wing or gallery dedicated to photographic art. See the bottom of this post for a list of some museums dedicated specifically to photography.
The Outside World
Leave your house, and while you’re out there, keep your eyes open and aware. Try to keep your primary camera with you at all times. If that’s your cell phone, great! If it’s your DSLR/Mirrorless, avoid the temptation to leave it behind thinking it’s too cumbersome or that you’re not likely to see something that catches your eye. The key is to be always prepared to get the shot!
Subscribe to magazines. That way you can do some finding inside the house as well! And it’s so easy, they come right to your door! And if you love treats and surprises like I do, coming home and finding the next issue in your mailbox is a nice way to pepper a little joy into your routine. I like to take them straight to my big chair and sit with some sticky tabs and mark the pages that feature photos that inspire me, so I can easily refer back to them later on. Sometimes I even cut the page out and add it to a vision board!
Magazine subs are super cheap (here’s a link to some for just $2!) and will expose you to a lot of contemporary commercial work (i.e. what today’s photogs are being paid to do!) I totally believe that there need be no starving artists, so learning how to tap into commercial work and sell your unique artistic vision is a big big plus. Also, a lot of commercial work is very innovative and artistic, don’t write it off!
Bensusan Museum and Library of Photography / Johannesburg
Maison de la Photographie / Marrakech
National Photography Museum / Rabat
Lianzhou Museum of Photography / Lianzhou
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography / Tokyo
MAP / Bangalore (coming soon!)
Foam / Amsterdam
Fotografiska / New York, Stockholm, Tallinn
Fotomuseum Winterthur / Winterthur
Les Douches Gallerie / Paris
The Photographers’ Gallery / London
Portuguese Center of Photography / Porto
Thessaloniki Museum of Photography / Thessaloniki
Fotografiska / New York City, Stockholm, Tallinn
International Center of Photography / New York City
The George Eastman Museum / Rochester, New York
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts / Tampa
Southeast Museum of Photography / Daytona Beach
California Museum of Photography / Riverside
Museum of Photographic Arts / San Diego
Museum of Contemporary Photography / Chicago
International Photography Hall of Fame / Oklahoma City
Center for Creative Photography / Tucson
Griffin Museum of Photography / Winchester, Massachusetts