The continual search for inspiration. It occurs in each of us constantly. Sometimes we are aware that we are in need of it, but most the time we are just absorbing it without any conscience decision of doing so. And occasionally we are receptive enough to realize that when it is pointed out to you and you have the means of absorbing it your should do just that.
I believe it was back in December, while perusing Google Plus, I came across some street photography by Frank Doorhof. Posted somewhere amongst the comments of the pictures Frank made mention of Jay Maisel being a source of inspiration for him in street photography. I had seen Jay’s name before and knew that he had classes on Kelby training so over my winter break I spent some time watching his courses. I use the term watching here very loosely. In fact I was completely engrossed in what he was doing and saying.
Time and time again we hear photographers tell you the key to becoming a better photographer is to practice. Spend less on gear and more on the art. And we all know this to be true. But when these words of wisdom come from those who are sporting the best gear it makes it a bit hard to imagine that having better gear wouldn’t benefit the art. So while watching “A Day with Jay Maisel” and seeing him utilizing a 70 – 300 variable aperture lens. In fact the very same lens I use. I was completely willing to put forth a level of trust that I could really obtain some good information from this class.
Next to gear I would have to say one of the most talked about subject matters in photography is light. Good light. Bad light. Light modifiers. How to make bad light good. It goes on and on. And yes, the best light may be in the morning and evening, unless it is overcast, but then it becomes flat light, unless you are on a sidewalk or near a light colored building that is reflecting light… I could go on and on about this. The truth of the matter is that really the only people who notice the light in an image are other artists. I’m not saying that everyone else doesn’t notice the difference between an image with nice lighting vs one that isn’t. But most people are taken in by the image subject. And a badly lit image is better than no image.
Jay speaks about this also in his video and basically just says who cares, just go shoot. I have tried to re-incorporate this motto back into my life. I still look for the good light, but I am not going to stop taking shots now because of it. Let’s face it, even if the light is horrible you can still learn from every shot you take. Composition, focal length, exposure, etc.
Equipment: Nikon D700, Nikon 70-300mm
Post Processing: Lightroom, OnOne Perfect Photo Suite, Photoshop
In Short Jay and Frank provided me with a huge sense of inspiration One that I can go out and work with immediately without having to purchase a thing. They re-affirmed that photographic art subjects are all around us. We simply need to open our eyes to them. Street photography is a never ending opportunity to create some great captures and I look forward to experimenting with more of this genre this year.
If you know of other inspiration speakers, teachers and sources please list them in the comments for others.