A friend and I were talking about inspiration the other day. As visual artists, we pour out our imaginations on paper, or at least use all of our resources to tell the best story possible. At art school, they tell us to refill our tanks, and find some inspiration so that we don’t burn out. So who is yours? Who is mine? Who do you look up to that makes you reach for the stars, and who do you also look up to that you could possibly catch up to someday?
I’ve got mine. I’ve always had my “go to” people. The classics, the standards in photography. But this recent conversation caused me to do a bit of soul searching and reconsider who I look up to as a photographer.
My standard, the “Grandfather” of my profession: Lewis Hine. The first real social documentary photographer, in the early 1900’s pushed for change with his work. And he accomplished it! Because of the relentless, compassionate, and absolutely stunning work of this man, child labor laws were established and society affected for the better. He saw that change was needed, and used every means possible to accomplish what he set out to do. My friend Jason gave me a coffee table book of his work several months ago, and it is absolutely beautiful and humbling, every time I look at it. As a young photographer, I desire to walk forward in such boldness, and face the changes that need to happen in the world in spite of my fears and smallness as just one person.
My “star-reaching” heroes: Ami Vitale
Ami is well known for being a National Geographic photographer, but there is so much more than that! She has traveled to over 80 countries, and does work that deals with the issues women face in developing countries. Her work is vibrant, colorful, and done with much dignity. All images borrowed from her website.
My mentor: She would be embarrassed to hear me say this, but I’m going to do it anyway– Kelly Lemon Vizcaino. She inspires me as an individual, always defining her circumstances instead of letting them define her. More than learning photography from her, I have learned compassion, determination, and how to look at situations from the other person’s point of view. I have gotten to work with Kelly quite a bit, and I am always so impressed with the way she truly connects with her clients and cares about them as individuals. She is such a dynamic person, you know, the “life of the party” type, who can simultaneously make you feel like what you’re saying is the most important thing in the world. As a photographer, I have learned creative solutions for everyday problems from Kel, and how small changes in technique make all the difference. I am grateful to call this woman one of my good friends! I borrowed a few of her travel images from her website, although Kelly is mainly a wedding photographer.
So, who inspires you? Leave me a comment, I want to know!