Photochat; Sources of Inspiration

PhotoChat is a weekly conversation between Photography Pro’s and Amateurs that takes place on Thursdays at 1PM EST hosted by Prime Social Marketing. To follow the conversation or take part use #Photochat on Twitter.

This blog post covers my longer answers to the questions that are condensed then put into tweets for the Photochat.

This weeks topic Sources of Inspiration

Q1: Which great photographers have inspired you the most? Share your biggest admirations with us.

I would say there are four photographers that have influenced me. All partly getting me interested into photography, as well as having images that inspired me to keep taking pictures that could be as great as theirs.

Tract House #17 Baltz, Lewis 1971

The first was actually Lewis Baltz. I saw his work after I dropped out of my first year of my first college. I was waiting for a friend at her college and was told I could sit in on her photography class. I was blown away his pictures of scenes that were so normal and they became so extraordinary.


My interpretation of Lewis Baltz’s style.

In my early studies I even tried to emulate his style. Not sure If I succeeded.

Robert Mapplethorpe

As I went back to college the next year and started studying photography I was drowned in new photographers (to me) and their work. The stand out photographer for me was Robert Mapplethrope ( we weren’t shown any of his more sexual work since we were aged 16-18) and I loved the way they had such detail of form, his still life’s in particular. His self-portraits also stood out especially the one before his death where he has a cane with a skull on top. The skull being in focus foretelling his future.

Richard Misrach

Diane Arbus talking about one of her images.

Richard Misrach also had a profound effect on me as well as Diane Arbus. Diane Arbus though was more on a personally level and even more when I read her biography, her feelings and states of mind were relatable to someone caught emotionally at the end of teen angst and trying to find themselves.

Stephen Gill

Stephen Gill has been a recent aspiration especially when I was trying to get back to photography after a hiatus . Looking at his work showed me how simple and image has to be and that all these special effects are not needed to make a great image.

Q2: What do you do to pick yourself up when you’re feeling exceptionally dissatisfied or unproductive?

I do think that positive thinking does create productivity and feeling negative creates nothing. To pick myself up when I am feeling down is to force myself to go out and make something.

If I am unable to do that it can be good to read a book or a comic or listen to music, to try and find a rhythm or topic which gives me some inspiration.


Searching for inspiration a few years ago I created this Vector image. A composite of all of Death Cab For Cuties Album covers at the time. It did help, in listening to their music and experimenting in Photoshop gave me quite a few ideas and got me out taking pictures.

I have also found just playing and exercising my skills in Photoshop can start me thinking about a different approach.

Q3: What recent stories or photographs have you read/seen that inspired you as a photographer? Discuss and share!

Refotografie, ( a blog I keep coming back to, looking at, and it keeps inspiring. It keeps showing mehow important some images can be, even when they don’t feel important now.

1922 Nowy Rynek (Plac Wolności)

Nowy Rynek (Plac Wolności)

2009 Nowy Rynek (Plac Wolności)

Nowy Rynek (Plac Wolności)

The series of images are of the city I live in (Lodz, Poland) which is constantly changing and modernizing. In paring landscape shots from the past and the present together shows how much the city has changed and how the city has always been adapting over time.

Really the series shows that all images are important in the eyes of history.

Q4: Do you have a particular muse that aids and inspires your creations? A person, place, etc. that helps when you’re struggling?

My students are a muse in a way. They talk in an inhibited way, saying things without thinking . This is a great source of inspiration for a series of images or even a blog post.


Image created as part of a still life Class. My students suggested placing an object of a reflective surface.

Also teaching young teenager’s photography means you end up creating a lot of fun images due to their interesting requests. One lesson when teaching basic editing a student asked “Can we add a third leg?” .

Next week we will be attempting an Hadouken image, inspired by one students love for Manga.

Q5: Any favorite quotes or words of wisdom from the greats that have personally helped inspire you? -

There is some truth in this Ecard

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” Diane Arbus

Love this idea when it comes to composing an image. I have always found that I want to ask questions and found out more about a subject when I photograph it. As photographers I thought we always want to know what is behind a door or around a corner, why is she crying, is she happy or sad.

“My Best Picture Is The One I Will Take Tomorrow” – Imogen Cunningham

This tells me that no matter how good an image is today tomorrow I will take a better one tomorrow. Why stop creating images today.

“With every praise comes a critic. We can get 100 praises, but become undone by one critic. To survive in the real world we must accept both, or the one critic can steal our passion to create.” Joel Grimes

Accepting criticisms and not taking them personally is hard. Sometimes we have to take them and learn other times they needs to roll off us, like water off a ducks back.

I would love to know what your opinions to the questions are. Do you agree or disagree with my answers? Either way you can let me know using the comment box below.

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