Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Inspiration

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Sitting down to write this post, I asked myself where I go for inspiration. I guess my first inclination, as always, was to make some kind of list. But what would this list look like? Websites, photographers, designers…books? I arrived at the conclusion that inspiration necessarily comes from all around me. There’s no one place I go for inspiration. But that doesn’t really make for an interesting read, so I made a list anyway.

So, what’s inspired me lately?

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Joan Crawford, Nickolas Muray for Vanity Fair 1929

Vanity Fair: The Portraits

I received this book as a birthday gift last month. It’s a truly amazing collection of images documenting a century of modern society, by many of its most iconic photographers (and a few of my personal heroes) including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Annie Leibowitz and Edward Steichen. I love taking pictures of people, this is no secret. I haven’t had the chance to do a lot of that lately, but I’m working on it (see my previous post). It seems to me that if you want to do something well, you study the best. This book showcases some of the finest portraits from the last century, and thumbing through its massive pages is awe-inspiring.

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer

This film has been praised as the anti-love story and dismissed as a hipster romantic comedy, but I think what I liked about 500 Days of Summer is how it defied categorization. It had moments of genuine emotion alongside lighthearted comedy (and even a dance number). The film didn’t claim to be something it wasn’t—I think the opening narration says it best:

“This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know up front, this is not a love story.”

But I must confess: it takes more than an enduring story for a movie to truly inspire me. 500 Days took it to the next level with an interestingly jumbled chronology—which in some movies proves confusing or disorienting—and tied it all together with a very slick design. The feel of those interstitial spaces was more reminiscent of information graphics or user experience design than simple movie titles. The design of the movie is what made it work. And it worked out quite well, in my opinion.

Kansas City (on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)

Travel

Though something tells me everyone already knows that. In addition to the epic (and previously blogged) trip to California this summer, we also took a summer-ending road trip to Kansas City over the Labor Day weekend. It was awesome. Just long enough to be relaxing and see the sights, short enough to keep things cheap and simple. The problem with me and travel, however, is that the more I do it…the more I want to do it. Not to mention the fact that every time I visit some place other than Tulsa, the less I like Tulsa. But that’s not inspiring, so it doesn’t belong on this list.

So tell me, where do you find inspiration?

My People Project

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List

New Years Resolutions

I’ve never been a big fan of New Years Resolutions. They’re always seemed kind of cliche and commercialized,  and when I’ve made them they always seem to fall by the wayside, forgotten.

I am, however, rather fond of making lists. So this past January I made a list of things I wanted to achieve. Some items were short-term goals, to be completed in the year, and some were more long-term. Some were more practical (put $25 a paycheck in savings) and some were perhaps a little ambitious (work out 5 times a week? a nice concept, but I know myself better than that). The list can be viewed in full here (link).

One entry that falls squarely into the ambitious column: “Take a picture of everyone I know. Everyone.

See, it’s underlined. That means it’s important.

The People Project

Connor

So I realize the full magnitude of the statement. It’s everyone, underlined, after all. And that’s undoubtedly going to be a lot of people. If we’re speaking in broad everyone terms here, then I could probably say that I know people I had classes with, the guy who seats us at our favorite restaurant, and people who work with my wife. So where does one draw the line?

The short answer is that I’m not. I’m embracing the true scope of the undertaking. Sure, I may never photograph everyone I know. For starters, there’s not enough time in the day. Then of course we factor in that some people simply don’t want to be photographed, some people would be inappropriate to ask, and some people I simply don’t want to (I just can’t get excited about taking a picture of former coworkers and managers, let’s be realistic). Those caveats aside, I’m just looking at this as an opportunity. Maybe I don’t have to meticulously document every single person I know, but it encourages me to look for subjects in the people I see every day. And there are no rules here. Some will be formal portraits, some will be snapshots (I’ve already got some of both). I’d love as many of them as possible to be quality photographs, because that’s just the kind of person I am, but I’m also a big fan of the fortuitous snapshot (like this one, after which she asked “did you just take a picture of me? to which I simply grinned sheepishly).

So maybe it will never be a coffee table book, a major motion picture, or a PBS documentary. But even if nobody ever sees it but me and the people I photograph, I feel like I’ve done something worth doing. I’m pointing something I love to do more than just about anything (making photographs) at the people who matter most in my life. And if nothing else, someday I’ll be able to look at the pictures and remember all the people who have touched my life.

You probably saw this coming

If you’re reading this blog post, it probably means you belong to that not-so-exclusive group, everyone. Which means I’d probably be giddy to take some shots at you. This doesn’t have to be a formal get-dressed-up kind of affair. If you’d be interested in taking part in the project, shoot me an email (spam filter don’t fail me now), I’d love to hear from you.

This Looks Vaguely Familiar

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Pen

I’m not much of a blogger, though it’s not for lack of trying. First it was Xanga, then Livejournal, WordPress, and even my own personal site (which was really more of a design experiment, and which still exists here, for  purely aesthetic and nostalgic purposes). I always started so well, with so many thought-out posts and big dreams of readership and editorial quality, but always ended the same: a slow fade-out which ended with a “sorry I haven’t put anything up in a while” post…and then obscurity. They’re all still out there, as far as I know, but I don’t want to dig them up. They’re dead for a reason: They didn’t work. But it’s never too late to try again, right? So I’m going to. I have always felt as though I’m the kind of person who has quite a lot to say once I get a mind to, so let’s just hang on and see how that goes.