Why I love photography and how to stay inspired

Personal thoughts...

Photography has fast become my main passion in life, as well as a way of self expression and expansion. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to find a true passion in my life.  

For me photography has become a lifestyle, as well as a way of being able to covey my emotions in a physical sense, through an image. Much like how painters, drawers and writers draw their inspiration. I feel my work is inspired by my personal experiences, both positive and negative. The best thing being able to create something positive or emotive, that people can relate to and even create their own meaning for. Other photographers also inspire me without a doubt. Instagram has fast became an incredible tool, expanding your horizons and knowledge regarding the medium. Especially when developing an understanding of your own personal style and aesthetic. At the time I felt as if I was struggling to discover my own style and vibe, but now looking back over the past two years and my development, it was definitely an important stage to go through. It's those stages, where you can often give up or decide to do better and trust your ability.

Inspired Vs Uninspired...

My inspirations lie in creating an experience, the photo itself is essentially just an artistic representation based on how I perceive that moment, as a result of my mental state at that time. People will say it again and again in quotes over time but I believe it one hundred percent that it's all about the creative process and the journey that leads to the end product. I travel a lot, every chance I get, wether it be locally, state wide or internationally.

Comparing yourself to others can be one of the worst aspects of being photographer/visual artist. It's how you turn that around into inspiration that can prove pivotal within your work. I am guilty of making daily comparisons to other photographers out there, especially that of others around my age range and area. Social media is filled with an insane and at times, over whelming amount of visual talent. You just can't compare yourself to these faceless artists, the best way to deal with this is to use this diversity within your own work and gain a greater understanding of what looks good and what doesn't. I tend to see myself as an erratic photographer, I'll shoot one style and then be captivated by a whole different aesthetic and try to learn it and use it in my own style. I've always been told that you will develop your own personal style in the natural progression of time, yes I do believe this is true, but I don't think it should be seen as a major goal that you have to achieve fast. For me I'm still on that journey and I'm definitely finding that my style is growing on its own as we speak, but Ill tell you now that I live for the progression and the hunt to shoot different subjects and styles. Each style influences the other, whether it be landscape, portraiture, long exposure, drone or something like Boket. Don't limit yourself to a style that will ultimately just please your Instagram followers through a matching feed. Yes, this is an important aspect as well, but personally I've found this will naturally occur over time.

Making it happen...

As a photographer I find you need to simply just "get out and get busy". Brett Conti, a New York based cinematographer, entrepreneur and youtuber, is great example of this and an individual who inspires me on a daily basis. It's that simple concept of progression, to make change you have to get up and make it happen, especially within photography where you can't just chill out at home and watch YouTube videos and tutorials all day! You've just gotta get out there! Jump in the car, have a vague idea of something to shoot and just make it happen. You wont be successful every time but I do guarantee you will learn something every single time, as frustrating as it may be.

Solo Vs others ( Introverts/Extroverts)...

Introvert or extrovert? In my opinion who cares, it doesn't really matter, photography allows for both! I certainly can't define which one I am, I can happily say I have traits of both and I think it changes with time, never settling down into just one category. I believe both are crucial in building your own practice and work.

Developing a balance between introverted and extroverted is one of my biggest challenges as a photographer and understanding when to get out of my own head and internal motivation and work with others. Because, yes it can be motivating and demotivating at the same time, it's just all about how you choose to perceive it and who you choose to work with. All the individuals of whom I've worked with have all become great friends and I feel this is one of the best ways to have it, it's not a sense of working but a sense of creating, having fun and vibeing off of each other and the energy you can create when shooting. Simply creating an enjoyment and love for what you're doing. 

My favourite thing about photography is the flexibility to shoot by yourself and work with others, in order to learn and progress, I am a strong believer in both. If you are a skateboarder or have been I'm sure you'll read this and be able to relate to it. Photography to me is essentially an individual and self motivating practice like skating or any other individual sport, you yourself are the only one who can make it happen, you have to believe in it and actually want to be the one getting up at 3am in the morning to road trip it to a rad location to shoot sunrise. It's that internal motivation that is crucial.

When it comes to shooting with others it's the same concept, however, it's even better because there is external motivation and you are able to learn more and grow within your field, by channelling the other. A healthy sense of competition/camaraderie as silly as it may sound within photography is also really important. It forced me out of my comfort zone in many occasions, shooting with others who have entirely different styles to your own can often be daunting but if your in the right head space you can use it as teaching mechanism and create a new dimension to your own style. Through my experiences of shooting with a range of photographers from urban shooters, portrait and professional landscape photographers I have learnt a lot and I promise you will to. These mediums all interact and can have awesome effects upon each other if you channel them creatively. A great example being portraiture, landscape and urban styles. Placed together by using subtle references/influences can create images you never thought were possible and something no one else is doing, hence creating your own aesthetic. 

One of the best pieces of advice I can give anyone through my experience, is don't see photography as a networking game, see it as a way of expanding your growth and a way of meeting like minded individuals who you share a common interest with. I have met some incredible and inspiring people through photography, people of whom I could never of seen myself engaging with ever a few years ago. Locally and from Melbourne to Hong Kong and Singapore I've met and engaged with some incredible people who inspire me daily. Surrounding yourself with like minded and progressive people is incredibly important and I assure you will help growth in yourself, work and others around you. Collaborations are a great way to achieve this and is something I seek to work on a lot more in the future. 

Turning Points

For me photography filled a deep void that I almost fell into. Relationships will always create both incredible inspirations and equally as incredible lows. It hit hard both emotionally and physically for me, just through the way I was able to deal with it. I am so grateful that I had photography to channel those emotions into and both express them in an artistic form and to help me grow and learn as an individual. For me the breakdown of a relationship changed the way I viewed myself and my photography. I looked at my work entirely as a way of how I could let go of a certain feeling but yet still create something positive out of it. In the photo series below I'm going to be featuring images that best represent this to me and reflect a true emotional state. Self doubt became a major barrier at the time, however I was able to break through it by the confidence I gained within my photography and the positivity that was being given to me by others as a result.

For me photography filled a deep hole that I almost fell into. Photography inspires me everyday whether it be through others or something I've achieved. The idea of the perfect image never leaves my mind, its like a constant buzz that never leaves. The idea of the "perfect" image is one that I love, due to the fact, that is unachievable, you literally cannot achieve perfection within photography and that is what makes it so captivating, quite similar to the feeling that skateboarders feel when learning new tricks and trying to progress. It's an interesting concept and I could waffle on for hours about it... but I won't, because it will end up somewhere I don't even know. But it's that very idea of not knowing that I love intently and directly relates to the ideas I've talked about earlier with travel and the journey to the final image. 

I have become more and more self critical over time, and yes this can be a positive thing, but I feel it is important to not take it to seriously but to use it as filter for your work. At times I have totally shut down and not believed in myself at all, these are the moments where you just have to change it up, not give up. Shoot something different or even trying some video can help! Just anything, for me it was getting out and shooting with others. Working with models and gaining the confidence in my own ability to shoot decent portraits in different forms of light and environments. I was never that into portraiture but after expanding my horizons and seeing what other photographers where doing it has fast become one of my favourite and most emotive ways to shoot.

Since finishing high school, the last two years have been both a challenge and an incredible adventure. My world has totally changed, from the way I choose to interact with others and relationships, I've gained and lost, and most importantly the way in which I believe in myself and my abilities. Im going to seek to never stop learning and to always see my photography as an ever evolving presentation of myself and my life as it happens! Hope everyone can see it within the photoset placed below.

 

 


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