I always think it’s easier to make pictures if I have an idea. If I have an idea for a picture, I usually try to make a mockup of the picture before I go out and then try to make the actual photograph. I enjoy visualizing the idea, trying angles and the setup before I stand outside with my toys and camera. But I don’t always have an idea. I wish I did, but sometime I go out to photograph without an idea… this means that one part of me is going out to search for ideas to “visualize” in my still life pictures. On a good day, I seems to find ideas everywhere: on commercial billboards, in ordinary life, at work, in literature, mythology and in other artists work.
In Seattle, I went out photographing without an idea several times and that made me aware of how important pictures and artwork are for my ideas. Especially if those ideas relate to themes I usually work with like family, ordinary life, the wish to belong, the myth’s etc.
To give you a clearer images of what I mean I will give you a example of how this work. Shelly and I where in the Olympic Sculpture park to photograph, and we stopped and looked at Father and Son, by Louise Bourgeois. It is a controversial fountain, that depicts a man and a child wanting to reach one another but they are always separated by the water that covers one of them.
Just 50 meters from that fountain I got the opportunity to use Bourgeious idea of being separated but wanting to reach one another in a picture of my own. In my version, my toys could reach each other, but there is something that separates them. In the fountain it was the water jets, in my case it’s the fact that they are toys that can’t move. They can’t reach each other unless I act and make it possible. Looking at my picture, I feel that feeling of wanting to connect, but it could be clearer that they can’t and why, but I like the idea and I’ll come back to it and work on it again… you’ll see. And Louise Bourgeious words about her childhood will continue to inspire me:
“My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama…”
It is, as we have noted earlier in this blog, nothing is new under the sun, that everything has been done before and we are all inspired by others, we reuse and remix others work and like Shelly has said once or twice it’s all about trying to steal like an artist.
My visit to Seattle gave me many opportunities to reflect on my work and how I work as a photographer, and together with Shelly, I had many opportunities to seek inspiration by photographing me into it. And it’s undeniably inspiring to make daily photo expeditions, but they become even better if there is an idea that I want to visualize. The idea isn’t a guarantee for success, but my willingness to work through an idea makes it so much more inspiring to photograph. Luckily enough, if I’m open to it, ideas for photographs are always around me.
Tell me where do you get the ideas for your photographs?
I realize more and more that making a (good) photo without an idea is incredibly difficult. I really like the idea of the mockup before shooting. I have thought many times trying to do something like a sketch of an idea to avoid wasting time with too much random experimentations when shooting, but I’m kind of lazy and have never did it yet.
Glad you like it, I can say that the mockup make it easier to get the angle right, once I’m outside 🙂