How looking into photographs can help you find your muse
"A PHOTOGRAPH IS USUALLY LOOKED AT - SELDOM LOOKED INTO. -"
Photos are one of the most inspirational tools available for those who know how to use them. By allowing yourself to look into a photo instead of merely at it, trying to see it from the point of a view of the artist, you will find that its creative value may be worth way more than just one thousand words.
Think about all those famous photographs:
- Einstein sticking out his tongue
- Marines raising the American Flag
- The Moon and Half Dome
- A naked John Lennon curled up next to Yoko Ono
When you look at a photograph, you are not merely seeing some moment captured in time, you are seeing that moment through the eyes of someone else. All of the photos mentioned above were not just moments in time that someone with a camera just happened to capture, they were shots taken by artists who had a specific vision that they wanted to communicate.
“A photograph is usually looked at-seldom looked into.” Ansel Adams
A good picture will not only capture the image that is in front of the lens, but also the feelings and thoughts of the person who is taking the picture. The famed photographer, Ansel Adams, used intricate camera techniques in order to capture the remaining North American wilderness with stunning visual clarity. His photos of Yosemite and other landscapes brought notice to these natural treasures and helped keep them preserved. When you look into Adam’s photo of Half Dome in the full moonlight instead of merely looking at it, you might find yourself inspired by Ansel’s love of natural wonders and what he did to show others the beauty that he saw.
Next time you are in search of some inspiration, try looking into some photos. Instead of treating them like your aunt and uncle’s vacation photo album and merely looking at them, try looking into them and put yourself into the shoes of the artist taking the picture.
- What is the artist really trying to show me?
- Is there something more to the image?
- What sort of feelings does the image bring up?
- What kind of story does it tell?
Every photo tells a story, and a great photographer will use the right angles and shades in order to set the mood and tell the story they want to tell. By looking into the photo and asking questions, you might find yourself stumbling onto the reason behind the photo and find yourself inspired.
Do not limit yourself to galleries
Of course, an inspirational photo does not necessarily have to come from masters like Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams. Even amateur photographers who know nothing about color tones or angles are capable of infusing a snap shot with their own view and personality. By opening your mind and stepping into the shoes of person taking the photo you allow yourself to see past the surface and into the moment that was captured. Bear that in mind next time your aunt whips out the vacation photos. By allowing yourself to look into that picture of her in the funny hat on the burro that your uncle took of her, you might find the story behind the photo to be both entertaining as well as inspirational.