Instagram is no stranger to challenges. Some are organized events that take place once a week/month while others come on like a covert operation with secret instant-messages, planning and coordinated drop times that end up becoming an inside joke to a select few. These challenges are a key cog in the comradery that makes Instagram a special place for artists.Continue reading #jANTMANuary
I make pictures to explore the world and in some ways my photographs make me see the world through different eyes. But as I have confessed earlier I can’t make fiction, I can only retell stories I know or have heard of, and that is why the myths are so important in my photography. Artists have always looked to the myth to find inspiration, and I’m no different. I think the reason is simple; we as humans love stories. In classic literature the myths represent some really great stories; I explore the stories that I love in my still life photography.
When I am taking photographs, I don’t know if it is the start of a new project or only a series of pictures. It all depends on different things, like how the idea works out, if and when I get inspired and my ability to stick to the idea. You probably recognize this.
My passion is not LEGO, it may not even be photography, it’s music. I have been pretty clear with friends that if I had to choose between LEGO and music, I would choose music.
I love my LEGO mini figures, I love my camera and what I can accomplish with it, I love the community that I have created out of all of this. But honestly it doesn’t make me feel the way I do when I listen to music. When I listen to music, to a particular piece or an artist that I truly connect with, it makes me feel alive. I mean truly deeply connected to this earth, to myself, to my emotions, to the human condition, in a way that nothing else does.
When I attend a concert by a band / artist that I am particularly enamored with, it can be a spiritual event. I enjoy being part of a crowd of like minded individuals who are having a shared experience. I love to feel the music course through my body and while I let my brain disconnect from the everyday, I simply exist in the moment.
More often than not I have to hear the music in person, rather than a recording, to truly understand music. Its like I need to see the music before I can really feel it. Maybe this is what ultimately connected me to KEXP and my weird long time (read six years) volunteer position with their video department. When I am videoing a band I want to somehow translate that intimate experience to the viewer through the shot I am framing . Obviously most of the creative process lies with the editor, but if he doesn’t have good material to work from, how can he do his job?
It is important to have a variety of interests and passions to feed your creativity. Our passions and our art are all connected. For me the tie that binds all this music, video and toy photography together is one word: emotions. Music is my creative release and inspiration. I want the passion I feel for music to resonate in my photography. I want the viewer to have an emotional response to my work. It is a lofty goal and one I know I fall short of, but it is good to have goals.
I share all of this with you because I want to know what inspires you! I am currently reading Sally Man’s memoir and she mentions that her creative inspiration is long distance horse racing. Maybe it is the opposite, maybe your photography inspires your work? What ever your passion is, I hope you cherish and nourish it. The world can be a brutal place and its important to have a passion that helps to energize and fuel you going forward.
I know I have mentioned this several times, but inspiration sometimes comes from the weirdest places. Recently I watched the movie “Frank” which tells the story of one aspiring band who is fronted by a man who never removes his papier-mâché head. Just the place to find treasures like:
[clickToTweet tweet=”When you think you’ve gone far enough, go farther.” quote=”When you think you’ve gone far enough, go farther.”]
When I started collecting Lego minifigures two years ago, photographing them was not on my mind. I was an enthusiast who was more than happy to see these tiny plastic people smile at me just as they did when I was a kid. Photographing them on my smartphone came about a year later. Since then I have become “telefonfotografcisi” on Instagram, shooting Lego photos and sharing them with a number of total strangers and a few close friends.
After sharing the first photo I took on my balcony (for the record it was the gnome fig on a beer can) I received about 30+ likes, most of which came from people I did not know. Even-though I am not motivated by followers or likes, I liked this feeling. I was motivated to do more and preferably even better photos. It means even more when strangers like my photos (sorry friend!). I know I can count on my friends to eventually “like” some –if not all- of my photos since they are happy to support my endeavors. Strangers though, only like a photo when they sincerely do so. They love the work, the idea, or the artistic effects you applied; nothing more. That seems to be enough for many of them to double-tap your photo or hit that magic button to follow for more.
And this has been my greatest joy in coming out, speaking up and sharing my creations with others on Instagram.
Because creative work needs to be shared… eventually.
Now that dear Shelly, Boris and Vesa are just a few days away from “In LEGO We Connect” art exhibition opening on March 5th in Seattle, I have come to think on this more and more. As one of their many fellow fans, I am excited and looking forward to hearing about the show and sharing in any good news. I am sure all their hard-work and years of experience on mastering their art will more than pay off on this day.
Even more important -for all of us- is, these three people, who were total strangers to me and to each other just a short time ago are now leading a stage-act to inspire so many of us.
These three photographers have come out, spoken up and shared their creative worlds with us. And on the 5th of March they will share it with more, share it bigger, share it bolder.
Even though I am unable to be there and support them in person, I will do my best to make them feel assured they have our blessings.
Shelly, Boris and Vesa have illuminated up a path for us to share our imaginations. Now it’s our turn to walk that path and bring our toys out of the basement.
The hardest thing about keeping going with any project, be it toy photography or landscape photography is the concept of challenging yourself. Instagram is filled with people who take essentially the same photo over and over again.
I know I can be accused of this as much as the next person.
So I want to take a moment to talk about someone who seems to be challenging himself on a daily basis: +east mountain. Even though he is nearing the end of his 365 daily photo challenge he continues reinventing his photography style. Sure you can attribute some of this to his desire to master the basic concepts of photography since he is relatively new to the hobby, but most people do not take it to this level.
If you look back through his photos he has played with different lenses, natural elements like fire, water and sand, as well as experimenting with a variety of lighting styles. Just thinking about the amount of effort that goes into these shoots is a bit mind blowing, but at the same time I am inspired to push myself in a similar way.
Ok maybe I’m not going to start melting my mini figures, but I know I am capable of accomplishing more than what I am doing.
It is easy to look to the likes of Avanaut for inspiration but don’t stop there. There is as much to be learned from the new kids like East-Mountain, as from the masters.
Who inspires you? How do you keep your work looking fresh? Do you have any inspirational tricks you can share with the community?