This article was previously posted on www.kozuessence.com on July 22, 2014.
Where does inspiration come from? What inspires me? I’ve been
thinking about this question for a few days now and the conclusion I
came to was that most of the time, I am actually not inspired, at all.
Inspiration for me is closely related to motivation. If there’s no
motivation, then there’s no inspiration. And motivation is – for me
– related to the mood/mindset I am in. Everything is interconnected. And
so it is too with inspiration.
Inspiration comes in big waves and
surges for me. But there are also big lulls. And I am OK with that. When
I do get inspired, where does it come from?
That’s a good question. It can happen at any time of the day (but it
happens mostly at night or in the late hours of the evening) and really
can strike without warning. You’ve heard of the saying ‘struck by
lightning’? That’s exactly how it happens. A notepad and a pencil are my
Some photos pop in my mind out of nowhere. Those are the
easy ones. Those are the ones that are instantly finished even before
they are taken. Others happen more gradually. Usually when I am out
Then it is just a matter of finding the right elements to work with.
Take for instance the ‘Abraham Lake Reflections’ photo (above). I went out to
Abraham Lake (in Alberta) with nothing more than accommodation plans.
Everything else was up in the air. I went out before sunrise that
morning, the air was thick with moisture. Fog was dancing over the lake.
A truly glorious sight that made me feel alive. When the sun finally
popped out from behind Mount Michener, I instantly knew there was a
photo somewhere to be found there. That’s when my tunnel vision kicked
in. I saw the photo in my mind; all I did was frantically search for a
solution to get to that vision. I found a suitable composition at the
end of the morning. An hour later, the fog had burned off.
Is that inspiration? Is that motivation? Who knows? All I know was
that I was heavy ‘in the moment’. And I think that is a big part of when
‘inspiration’ happens. Being one with your surroundings and once self.
Some photos grow overtime. I believe that it isn’t until you have
‘earned’ a close relationship with an area (for a landscape
photographer) that photos will reveal themselves to you. For example
driving the same route to work everyday can inspire me to look for
hidden gems. Photographs so often overlooked by everyone else.
Ultimately, ideas and concepts inspire me more than the shear beauty
of my surroundings. The feelings a photo can give me or a concept behind
a composition are more important for me than the majesty of the scene
Take for instance 'Caldron Peak on a Foggy Morning’ (above). Is the scene
majestic? Maybe. But that wasn’t important that morning. What I saw was
the following. I saw a king ruling his army of trees. That’s what made
me take this photo. Not the repeating pattern of the trees, not the
foggy conditions, not the mighty triangular shape of the mountain. It
was the idea or concept that inspired me to set up the camera.
Finally, inspiration for me also comes from being driven to do
something better. Reading books by, and studying the work of the old
masters is truly something I can connect with and draw (technical)
Film is such a fantastic medium that so very little
photographers use anymore. They say it’s cumbersome, slow and more
difficult then they remembered. I hear these excuses far too often. For
me it’s the simple notion that I am not ready to give up on film
photography yet. Even if I am the last photographer standing that is
still using film, I’ll still be using it. That’s my drive. That’s my
motivation. And ultimately, it is also my inspiration.
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