A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Philosophy of Photography > Non-Photographic Inspiration

Featured Equipment Deals

25 Illuminating Fireworks Photos Read More

25 Illuminating Fireworks Photos

In the spirit of summertime celebrations, warm nights, and leisure time, these stunning photos of fireworks capture our playful side. Happy summer!

Latest Equipment Articles

Sun Position Tracking Apps Read More

Sun Position Tracking Apps

These 5 apps, ranging in price from free to $8.99, are our top picks for tracking sun (and moon) light. Also ranging in complexity, some help you keep tabs on the ideal lighting of the day while...

Latest Learning Articles

Basic Image Development in Lightroom: Color Editing (Video Tutorial) Read More

Basic Image Development in Lightroom: Color Editing (Video Tutorial)

Learn basic HSL (hue, saturation, and luminance) color adjustments as well as split toning (adjusting color in highlights and lowlights) in this next video.


Non-Photographic Inspiration

Michael J Hoffman , Oct 14, 2009; 02:54 p.m.

Just curious who among us might draw photographic inspiration from non-visual sources. I take inspiration from a number of non-visual sources to include writing and music. I often try to keep Hemingway's spartan "just enough" method of defining a scene in my mind as I photograph; Poe's literary use of color and darkness is another muse. I am also inspired by various different kinds of music when I photograph. From where do you draw your non-visual, photographic cues, if at all?

Michael J Hoffman

Responses


    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Anders Hingel , Oct 14, 2009; 03:17 p.m.

A difficult subject matter to address. I'm not that sure that it is meaningful to separate non-visual source of inspiration and visual ones. According to some theories moods have colors as it is expressed for examples in chromotherapy. If this is right, and it is indeed contested by some, than any "mood" that is created through music, poems, literature etc is translated into visual effects and would influence your photographical expressions. Furthermore, past visual experiences play surely an immediate role whenever we are are subject to inspiration through non-visual sources.

Phylo Dayrin , Oct 14, 2009; 03:53 p.m.

My inspiration is always non-photographic, life. For how else would I find a reason to turn it into something photographic if it wasn't.

TM Cleland , Oct 14, 2009; 04:05 p.m.

Still, and probably always, music influences just about everything I do, both in photography and in other graphic art and even cooking. Oddly, I tend to listen to dark, often dissonant music, yet I don't think that shows itself in my photos, so perhaps the influence is they balance each other?

It reminds me of an article I read in HS about synaesthetic illusions. Basically, its cross referencing your senses; what does the color orange sound like? What does Geddy Lee's voice look like? Kinda gives one a new way to experience something.

I'd like to say I try to incorporate these things when I'm shooting, but I'm still in that "ooh look" phase. I guess like all influences, they tend to happen a little more naturally.

Julie H , Oct 14, 2009; 04:28 p.m.

Smells.

Seriously. They are not my only non-photographic inspiration by any means, but they often stir me deeply and that "stirring" almost always takes me by surprise.

Marc Aubin , Oct 14, 2009; 09:25 p.m.

Nothing.
Sounds ridiculous, but I'm mostly into nature photography, and making the most of what surrounds me has helped me. I've been into zen meditation for a few years, and I find that completely clearing my mind before an outing allows me to notice much more, and react to what I see more spontaneously. But I do find that while I'm shooting, there always seems to be strangely appropriate music going round and round in my mind.

William Palminteri , Oct 15, 2009; 02:26 p.m.

Michael J Hoffman , Oct 14, 2009; 02:54 p.m.
Just curious who among us might draw photographic inspiration from non-visual sources. I take inspiration from a number of non-visual sources to include writing and music.

Michael, I use my full range of senses when I photograph. I am fortunate to live in a part of the country (NYC) where different neighborhoods have different smells, attitudes, vibes, languages etc. Here'a a short movie that I put together to compliment the tune I built from stock audio clips, in the tradition................

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6hT57GVbPA

As you can see, it's all stills brought to life with music.
Enjoy !!

Bill P.

William Palminteri , Oct 15, 2009; 02:34 p.m.

TM Cleland , Oct 14, 2009; 04:05 p.m.
Still, and probably always, music influences just about everything I do, both in photography and in other graphic art and even cooking. Oddly, I tend to listen to dark, often dissonant music, yet I don't think that shows itself in my photos, so perhaps the influence is they balance each other?

TM, I looked at your book and I saw a very cinematic approach to your work. There's a lot of drama under the surface, the "dark" music piece fits for me.

Bill P.

Wouter Willemse , Oct 15, 2009; 06:09 p.m.

Marc, I do not find it weird what you're describing, though I've never done any meditation... But nature pictures for me turn out best when I'm very relaxed. And yeah, somehow music pops up when wandering through nature. But usually what pops up does not inspire as such, as that "choice" of music itself comes from the same source: that's the mood I'm in. But listening to music (before I leave) can set that mood. There is a difference (for me) in seeing a wood after something like Mahler's Lied von der Erde compared to a Mozart pianoconcerto. It makes me look for other things.

In the end, the most (and for me best) inspiration comes from just being somewhere. Sucking up atmosphere, getting familiar with the place. That's partially a visual stimulation (the better you know a place, the better you know where to be), but also an emotional response. In some of my pictures, I can see which mood I was when taking them, but only for places I know really really well - so it just comes from within as it comes.

Chris Waller , Oct 16, 2009; 11:18 a.m.

Wouter,
I have exactly the same experience. When I am photographing landscape, I hear Elgar and Vaughan Williams. I was doing some portraits recently to Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side'.


    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses