This one can be a touchy subject.
There are many who would say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. That nothing is new. Everything’s been done before.
It’s true. And it’s not true. Things may have been done before but not by you! Not with your own creative twist.
I think finding inspiration can be really difficult. So often, we look to those we admire in our field and aspire to be like them by using their art as “inspiration”. We set up scenes similar to their own, we analyze their voice in our industry and emulate it until our work takes on a similar feel. A similar message. It’s a tried and true strategy that has been adopted by many artists across the globe and indeed myself as well. In the end though, we all start to look a little bit more “the same”. We use the same backdrops, buy the same props, setup with the same colours, textures and accessories and slowly creativity dies a little.
So what’s a photographer to do?
Finding inspiration outside of our industry may just be the answer. Visit a museum, study fine art paintings, go and check out that art deco history book from the library. It’s so important to immerse yourself in, not only the trends of your industry, but art in general. To form a sense of your preferences. What do you like? What don’t you like? Why or why not? What draws you in and makes you think? What could you walk by without another glance? Answering these questions can go a long way in helping you to define your style, find your voice and express something “new to you” on your path to becoming your own artist.
Today, I picked up the book The Creative Habit: Learn it And use it For Life by Twyla Tharp. You see, I studied dance. Modern dance more specifically, and Twyla was/is a rockstar in the world of modern dance choreography. She has found her creativity time and time again and in this book, she breaks down the process she follows when choreographing a new dance.
It piqued my interest and that is key. If you’re interested in something, there’s usually a reason. I believe whole heartedly that I can read about her process choreographing dance and apply that to my own process as an artist for finding my inner voice. My creativity. It also helped to have run across the following editorial review:
“Though its context is a choreographer’s world, its principles are universally applicable and sound….It could change your life.”
— Elizabeth Zimmer, The Village Voice
Off to read now…