Inspiration can come from all over the place and inspiration can strike at any time. I also believe that inspiration needs you to be away from your creative process but also constantly learning – either in connection with what you do or something totally different.
Let’s face it, no matter how much we learn, we continue to do so.
I try to absorb as much about the things I am interested in as often as I can.
Why? It’s how I learn. It helps me grow. It helps me switch off from the day job and you never know, it may even inform (or become) the day job.
I started my first role as a Web Developer purely based on what I had researched and learnt on my own, in my own time. There were no academic courses on the subject back in the day and I had an interest that I was passionate about.
Amazingly (or not), coding a homepage in HTML from scratch got me into web development, tuned into my interest in art and design plus got me my next career step and ultimately got me to where I am today.
How does this relate to my blog, my photography, my art or my running? It all does as all of these elements are what make me, me.
As you know I recently studied Photography with the British Academy of Photography, earning my diploma a month ago. I did read and self-taught myself about photography for a while (and have had an interest for years) but in this case, the formal teaching really pushed me. It helped me understand the technicalities whilst giving me the opportunity to try things such as event photography or shooting for a musician which I would never have done without it.
So what about now, now I have my diploma?
Well, I am still learning (see there’s a theme here). I am pushing myself and I am taking things to a different level. Almost like I am starting all over again. Discarding what I have learnt and then seeing how I can use this to move forward in another way.
The purchase of the Olympus Trip has now helped me to think about how I approach film photography and what I need to do if I cannot control all the elements of the camera.
The restriction (and cost) of having minimal exposures has also made me think about what I am photographing and why.
Digital cameras are great but you can get very click happy and I have found already in a week, having a film camera makes me think about what I am shooting, what I see through the viewfinder and then being happy to commit that image to film.
One of the other things I do is to use YouTube as a basis for my learning and have used a lot of the videos and links from them as my own virtual classroom.
Now there are some YouTube superstars, people who do amazing things and seem to manage to make a living from reviewing kit and taking photographs (or films). People like Peter McKinnon who seem to go to very exotic places and have lots of fun.
I don’t for a second believe that his life as a photographer is like this for real and I am sure there are a lot of things he doesn’t share (for one when does he ever get time to see his family?).
However, he is very enthusiastic about the craft and what he does (as are all the people I watch). Peter above all has great ideas and understands the equipment he has and can translate it to the viewer in a very cinematic way – this is why I believe he is so popular.
A recent discovery for me is James Popsys. I am sure James will not see himself in the exact same light as Peter (in fact he eludes to this in his own special way in his videos) but what I love about James is his honesty.
He’s down to earth and takes some wonderful photographs. He’s well known for his composites but his “snaps” are also noteworthy.
He may spend his time trekking up and down the Welsh mountains photographing sheep but he takes brilliant photographs and has fun doing it.
He’s also very honest when things go wrong and like a lot of us, he gets distracted when things do not always go his way.
I have learnt from James since watching his videos, some technical, some comical and some very human and down to earth things. Things you can only really learn by experience and James seems to be able to capture those experiences in his videos brilliantly.
I honestly can say I have not seen anyone approach photography or reviews in the same way James has online and I am surprised he does not have more followers.
The Art of Photography run by Ted Forbes, is a bit higher brow and more serious than James or Peter but Ted takes you on a journey that covers all things photographic. Ted is enthusiastic about all types of photography and photographs.
He too does travel the world whilst reviewing kit but he hasn’t lost his connection with the craft of photography. Like James, Ted has a creative vision and an approach to his work which is wonderful to see.
I do like Ted’s views and the community he has built around him. For him, it’s more about the community of photographers that are important and what draws me to his channel.
Ted focuses his attention to the art and craft of photography. Of style and encouragement for people’s work and wanting all photographers to do better.
It’s great to hear what Ted thinks but it’s also great that he provides a platform for other peoples work.
Sean Tucker started his photographic journey later in life and gave everything up to pursue this new career. He’s very honest about what he does and whether he is successful or not.
Sean has some great advice and a keen eye for what’s important. He also doesn’t sugar coat things.
I especially love that Sean can be out shooting street photography in places I know and yet see things I don’t see. He has such a good eye for detail.
I’d love to bump into Sean in London and say hi! (I am sure he’d love that!).
Sean gives good advice on composition, the creative process, as well as how to post-produce images. But unlike some others, there is no hard sell to purchase his training material or Lightroom presets etc.
He’s very honest and I feel very connected to his craft. I also realise that Sean is a realist and if someone with his immense talent struggles then I can appreciate how hard it is for everyone else.
Kai is the epitome of how to make it online and he mixes his reviews (which are usually honest and comical) with fun vignettes, poking fun at the photography community.
There are many more channels, reviewers, tutors and writers out there but these are the ones I refer to time and again.
I doubt I will ever make photography my profession but it is good to have such a wealth of content and inspiration freely available.
It’s also good to see how and what people shoot (and sometimes why). This helps with inspiration (but should never be an excuse for imitation).
I guess what I am getting at is whatever your passion, ensure you continue to learn. Don’t do something, achieve it, then stop. Move on. Progress. Try something else. That way we all grow to be better and better.
Hopefully, you have been able to see how I grow over the years on my blog but also to see how I progress from now using my Portfolio as your guide.
This is a photograph of a female blackbird who was trying to hide from me in a hedge at Wicken Fen.
I wasn’t sure about the clarity of my new telephoto lens so decided to try and capture her in her hiding place. This has proved that the lens is sharp and able to focus without a tripod. In fact, I am very pleased with the 45 – 150mm Lumix lens I have added to my lens family for my Olympus OMD EM5 MKII.
I’m happy with the results below. I am not sure Mrs Blackbird is though!
Remember to check out My Portfolio at KTomlinson.co.uk.