Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Get Inspiration for Great Photography by Looking at Great Photographs

There is nothing worse than the infliction of photographer's block; a complete loss of inspiration that seems like you will never recover from. I get the feeling often but I find a cure in looking at the work of other photographers, often ones I have never heard of.

The picture above is by the late, Vivian Maier, whose work I came across by chance when looking for photographers to look at. Not much is known about her life but one thing is certain, she had an eye for brilliant shots. Thousands of her photos were auctioned off toward the end of her life including tonnes of negatives and masses of undeveloped film. The people at are trying to bring all of this work to life and are researching her life to make a documentary about her work. I think it is a brilliant project which shares these photographs with people like myself who would never have seen her work.

However my main point is that to get inspired you must look past your environment and instead look at the work of others to gain a better understanding of what works and what does not. Of course it is always better to find this out through your own photography and your own experience however when your suffering from lack of inspiration this trial and error method can feel like a chore and at times like that I always find that seeing the work of others gives me inspiration to try these new things.

A final point I should make is that you shouldn't just look at photographers who picture the things you are directly interested in. In the case of Vivian, she was a street photographer where as I typically am not, but, her work was still massively inspiring because I was looking less at the subject and more at her, the way she framed her shots, the angles she chose and other little things that she would have taken into consideration when photographing the streets. By looking at other styles you can apply ideas to your own style and create some truly unique photography.

Photography by Vivian Maier
Written by Eric Riley for


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