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What inspires you? How do you translate that inspiration into your visuals?

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
Here is the answer from Nina and Sarah, known as Cooper & Gorfer whom I had a chance to interview last year.

"This can be different between us. Inspiration comes through learning and reacting to what excites you. At times, it can be more existential and/or personal questions about life, or a fascination with a person’s biography or the arc and energy of a place. Sometimes it is just innocent curiosity about the mundane moment. It can be a great book, a work of art, some fantastic music, or a ridiculous experience. We are collectors.

When we’ve decided a certain theme will be the foundation of our next artwork, we use a rather journalistic research method, including interviews and the gathering and creation of imagery. We create an inspiration pool, a collection which we react to and then execute our artwork."

How about you?
 

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
In my case it is mostly reading and literature. This passion for reading has become a passion for writing and over time I realised they both are strongly connected to the craft of photography.

When you read a good book, you are exposed to a certain rhythm of words and ideas. Not only does the order of words develop your sense of flow and composition but most importantly it prompts your imagination to create visuals out of this order. In other words, beautifully arranged words and sentences trigger your imagination to feel, imagine and craft imagery.

In time I found I had a strong connection to the world of photography. After spending years documenting what is in front of me, I became fascinated by the world that we usually don’t see. It is real and present but we just don’t have time, interest or the ability to see it and reveal it in the form of a photograph or a visual poem. The objective of my photographic discoveries has become to uncover this new, intimate world of visuals that is uniquely mine.

I cannot overemphasize the powerful role of word and imagination in this process. When I walk along the street or travel the less-travelled road I combine my imagination with the visual elements in front of me. Then using different composing techniques, I combine elements to create my own world, or visual sentences if you will. I am using the same processes as in writing. Instead of arranging words, I arrange visual elements to form an image or a visual sentence. Now I understand that years of reading books and visualizing them in my head provides me with a bridge to connect both. I am reaching out to my visual vocabulary that was born out of reading, something I am very grateful for.

©osztaba_SF_street_20181111__DSF7448.jpg
 

jsf

Active member
In my case it is mostly reading and literature. This passion for reading has become a passion for writing and over time I realised they both are strongly connected to the craft of photography.

When you read a good book, you are exposed to a certain rhythm of words and ideas. Not only does the order of words develop your sense of flow and composition but most importantly it prompts your imagination to create visuals out of this order. In other words, beautifully arranged words and sentences trigger your imagination to feel, imagine and craft imagery.

In time I found I had a strong connection to the world of photography. After spending years documenting what is in front of me, I became fascinated by the world that we usually don’t see. It is real and present but we just don’t have time, interest or the ability to see it and reveal it in the form of a photograph or a visual poem. The objective of my photographic discoveries has become to uncover this new, intimate world of visuals that is uniquely mine.

I cannot overemphasize the powerful role of word and imagination in this process. When I walk along the street or travel the less-travelled road I combine my imagination with the visual elements in front of me. Then using different composing techniques, I combine elements to create my own world, or visual sentences if you will. I am using the same processes as in writing. Instead of arranging words, I arrange visual elements to form an image or a visual sentence. Now I understand that years of reading books and visualizing them in my head provides me with a bridge to connect both. I am reaching out to my visual vocabulary that was born out of reading, something I am very grateful for.

View attachment 176233
I am curious about what kind of writing you do? I also am a writer and photographer, I was a literature major, and a journalism minor before I graduated as an art major. I am currently working on a graphic novel.
 

jsf

Active member
My inspiration is just being alive. I see a deep irony in events and significance in small objects and occurrences. I do not make a big distinction between pictures and words. In fact, I am not certain I make any distinction between the two, they are just different languages to me. I am passionate about story. Not the story or even the indefinite article story, just story. I see stories everywhere, in trees and dirty dishes. My cats tell me outrageous stories, my wife, passionate and tender stories. Rocks tend to have over-long stories, trees interesting but unlettered stories. I have come to appreciate the stories that weeds tell me. I have to admit I was prejudiced at first. After a lifetime of photography, both commercial and fine art I decided at age 70 that I wanted to combine pictures and words differently than I ever had before. I have made animations, I have performed spoken word poetry, I have written libretto for opera, all of these are in some form pictures and words. I was trained as a photo-journalist, I became a professional in advertising. But now I want to write stories in pictures and words. So I went back to school yet again, older than my fellow students by about 50 years. I am learning to draw, (a painful process, if ever there is such a thing as negative talent in this endeavor I possess a copious amount of negative talent.) I am working on my first graphic novel. I am not a fan of super-heroes or action stuff.
I think in pictures, photography has been my language of choice since I was 4 or 5. I have been a serious photographer since age 7. Not that my images showed any promise at that age. See above, my admission of negative talent, it is just that I have never really cared that I was not particularly gifted. What I have is a great deal of desire/drive/obsession. I simply see story everywhere, I have spent 60+ years refining the story. Photography is literally writing with light. I make definite statements in my writing with light. One might not like nor respond to my statements, but one would not be confused about the statement. In the last ten years, I have been thinking about chaos. After a lifetime of organizing coherency out of chaos I wondered if it were possible to photograph chaos. I have long experimented with removing context to the information packet, we call a photograph.
I start with the story, I work at telling the story as well as I can. I usually try to tell the story in as many ways as I can. If images are in fact a language, which they are of course, then writing the story in pictures is not different than telling the story in words. In front of us is a person, place, or thing. We discern a great deal of information or mystery from the gesture of a person, we discern a great deal of mystery or information from a specific thing. A thing in context tells us a different kind of story. And then there is place, the vast stage of our lives. In the end, I feel an image is successful if the invitation to the viewer provokes the viewer into telling their story. Other people's stories are much more interesting than my own. Even if I tell my story or what I perceive as the person/place or thing's story, the viewer if properly seduced will tell (me) their story and that is my goal in every image that I have ever made.
This is an example of my idea of chaos. Most people find this way too busy. I find this delicious in the myriad of stories included in the image. The next image is what I consider the mysteries that abound. I am a straight photographer in that I do not composite imagery.
 

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