5 Photographers Who Inspired Me in 2016
My work isn’t really my own. Sure, I’m in there and I put my heart into what I create but what’s in my heart is a swirling mix of everything and everyone that inspires me. As much as I might want to take credit for the work I’m most excited about, I owe a huge thank you to the artists who have kept me inspired and who have slowly,and without knowing, steered my body of work into something I’m proud of. We all find inspiration some where and I wanted to use my End of the Year post to thank the 5 photographers who have inspired me the most in 2016. So to you 5, thank you. I’m in your debt. To everyone else, I hope you find as much inspiration in these artists as I have.
RYAN MUIRHEAD – HEART
Ryan has probably been the biggest influence on my work this year. I spent 2015 feeling pretty down about what I was creating and desperately grasping at anything I could to pull myself out of a rut. Through what I saw in Ryan’s work, I found what I was missing in my own: Heart. It wasn’t anything visual that I was unhappy with, it was that intangible thing that puts humanity into an image. Ryan’s images are full of heart. His heart, and his subjects. The fact that I can see so much of who he is through what he creates strikes me and has led to me putting more of myself into my own work. I’ve been creating with more intention than I ever have and my creative process has evolved into something more fulfilling than it’s ever been. Ryan, I’m proud to call you a friend. Thank you.
NIRAV PATEL – LIGHT
If light was a person, it would hire Nirav to shoot it’s portraits. If you know anything about my work, you know much much I love shooting in soft, even light. You’ve probably also noticed me branching out of that a little this year and Nirav is the reason why. His use of light in a frame is simple and brilliant. There’s no other way to put it. It’s inspired me to step outside of the light I’ve always loved and to pursue more creativity in the way I use light. It’s arguably the most important tool we have (we’re literally capturing it in every image we take) and Nirav’s work has challenged me to take advantage of it more than I have in the past. Also, if you’re looking to support good people, Nirav is as good as they come.
ELIZAVETA PORODINA – CREATIVITY
I can’t really express in words what I feel when I see a strong, unique portrait so whenever I see one of Elizaveta’s portraits, it usually comes out something like this: “UGH. Seriously? How?” I know, it’s not very poetic but it’s as close as I can get. What’s struck me about her work is the depth of her creativity in portraits. Every image of hers could have been shot one way (the way everyone else would shoot it), but it’s not. It’s taken a little bit farther into something that is so unique to her creative style. I love it. I’m jealous of it. I’m blown away by it.
ELLIOT LEE HAZEL – SIMPLE INTRIGUE
You probably already know by now that minimalism is my happy place but as much as I love simplicity, it often takes the place of intrigue in an image because having both isn’t easy. That’s what Elliot does so well. His images are minimal, but still hold that question that draws in the viewer as they try to learn more. It’s something I (admittedly) feel is lacking in my work and I’ll be pushing hard in 2017 to present more questions in the images I put out.
MEWITHOUTYOU – DEPTH
I know you were expecting 5 photographers here instead of 4 photographers and a band, but any post about who inspires me would be incomplete without a nod to mewithoutYou. They have been a consistent inspiration for more than 10 years now and they’ve shaped the way I think more than just any other artist I’ve come across. I’m a sucker for discovery in art. The longer that a piece of art can hold interest is a testament to how much the artist left in a piece for someone to discover. The lyrics that Aaron Weiss weaves together are riddled with opportunity for discovery and it’s pushed me to create work that holds interest instead of work that’s glanced over and tossed aside. I’ve put together a little starter playlist with some of my favorites for those of you who are looking to dive in. The more you listen, the more you might find nods to them in my work.
MY MEWITHOUTYOU FAVORITES:
Well there it is folks! I want to wholeheartedly thank all of these artists (and all of the others not listed) who have played such a heavy role in the way I create. We aren’t islands and I don’t think we should strive to be. Create work that inspires you and show gratitude to those who have helped you find that inspiration. Be good to each other. Happy 2017!