Inspiration vs Imitation & Having Moodboards
So I quite like this segment because I'm gonna be talking about something in a quite philosophical way, but also then relating to how it becomes very practical as well. So it's really nice mix of art and business. So it starts with this whole would busting thing with inspiration on the word inspiration. Because we use this word a lot. I mean, I use this word a lot. Everyone tends to come to this word when they want to describe something is about the way they make photography or want to make some kind of photography on spark of passion. That comes to you as the reason as to why you want to make it so when you're when people describe being inspired, usually it's because they are moved. Buy something they've seen. And it can be that it's directly motivated you to want to make something like what you've seen. Or it can also be just a general feeling of motivation. When you see something, it might not be that you necessarily want to create something like it. It just makes you want to make t...
hings. So I'm gonna be exploring all these different angles and facets of inspiration. So we all have this landscape of things that inspire us inside our minds. Some of those are more conscious than others, so I want to start by suggesting this idea of the unconscious We are inspired by so much more than we know. So when we ask a photographer, you know what inspired you or anybody, any artist or anything, anyone who creates. And we want to know what goes into why, what they create and why they created. We asked them. Who inspires you? Onda. Often the answer is that the person who aren't even answering it say's the names of photographers that they aspire to be like. They usually choose the ones that they want to get to the level off the ones that they consider to be higher above. Um, but there's so much more that inspires us when we are just generally not just creating work, but generally digesting the world around us. On a lot of these things are things that we don't even realize in spirals. Eso It's a little bit of a kind of theoretical point, but it's quite interesting because if you go back to when I was first doing my self portrait. It's and somebody asked me on on Flicker. I think it was Are you inspired by Cindy Sherman? And I was like, Well, low. Who is Cindy Sherman? Don't have a clue. Cindy Sherman is you know, I'm inspired by her. Is she copying me? So I didn't really consider it to be relevant to me. I wouldn't. We're looking. Other photographers work much to start with, and I still don't necessarily look at loads of photographers work. I do different look up more than I used to, but in the beginning I was. So I looked up Cindy Sherman like, while later and kind of got to know what she was. This you know, she's a self portrait artist, and she's got this whole revolution of herself, poor traits and what she's been doing in her work as a photographer. And I realized that even though I hadn't heard of Cindy Sherman, her work still plays a part in the whole kind of inspiration chain of where my work comes. Because other people may have been inspired by her, she's affected people who I have been inspired by in this kind of whole domino effect, so even though my self portraiture waas in a way, it did feel like because when I first started taking pictures of myself, it was it was years before I first started my son yellow. It was when I was like about maybe 15 16. I first started making these clones self portrait and stabilised. I don't even know where the inspiration for those came from because I just can't think of anything physical I saw that inspired me. But I do know that whatever they were started by didn't come from nowhere came from things I'd seen, and it came from things that have been affected by those inspirations could well be things I never actually heard off because they've come around in a way that's almost like a chain link of the chain links that come back to me in the future, affected by things that come before. So there are lots of debates around the nature of inspiration and what constitutes being original or original enough. So some people say everyone could be original, and others say nothing is new under the sun on what is what's the answer, which is correct? Well, the answer. But my answer is both because everyone does create stuff that is original to the extent nights personal. So we mixed together lots of things that have been done before in a way that has hasn't been done before. That's a nice way of putting it, because it means that what we create, the sources from which we divide our inspiration, our existing out there already. But then we put them together in our own way. So it's easy to think of our not so much is trying to be original, as in something that has never been done before, but instead trying to be authentic. So we're putting together inspirations that we have seen together in an authentic way that is true to ourselves. So when we kind of forget this word original for a second and think about authentic, we understand more what the whole nature of art is because after all, no idea is new. You know this image here? I've got woman in a red dress, which is not a new thing. I've got a woman on a beach, which is not a new thing. I've got a boat on the sea is not a new thing, but the way in which it all brought together on the way in which I've applied this this real subtext as well with the red and see and the styling and every little details come together to make something that hasn't been done before because the final image hasn't been done before. So this is my response. This is something that I have made from mixing together inspirations from lots of different places that that have been done before. So every new piece of work is a remix of the inspirations that went into it. So if we think of the word creating, it implies that we've kind of both ing something new. But, you know, even in you know, every new life size made is a mixture off the modern father that goes into that new life. So is created something new from something pre existing. So if we think of making art as remixing rather than create, maybe get a better sense of what we're doing in our work. So you've also got this sometimes a confusion between invitation and inspiration. When we see something we like, we want to try hard to kind of recreated, but that's a bit misleading because it means that we're trying to just imitate something without first thinking about what it means to us. So I've got this idea of internalizing influences. So this importance off actually looking at an inspiration, something you like, Not just one. No looking up plural, looking at lots of them on, then also internalizing them. So you actually kind of eating them you're actually making sense of, um, Then you pull out your response and that's something I've tried to make a diagram off as well. So this diagram here, I've got these shapes and they represent a worthy inspirations that we see in their differing forms and colors on then, um, the's or come feels and we internalize his inspirations before we do anything. So it's important. You see that the some of the colors and the shape of the size of the shapes has changed because we're making sense of them in accordance to what they mean to us. And then we put out our response, and I responses like, ah, mixture of all those things that have gone into the original spark of inspiration. So it's a bit like Pappy Mashaei rather than photocopying or just go back to that sort. So it's like you are actually making a ka large of inspirations rather than a photocopy, because when you inspired by one thing, but you don't let yourself internalize inspiration first and actually put out your response based on multiple inspirations, then you basically just produce what is a copy and will probably be a week. A copy off like photocopying. It's a week, a copy of the original, and it's not true to yourself because you're literally trying to replicate something that exists already on, probably because you're so taken in the moment off that person. But you don't want to be that person you want to be yourself. So in order to be yourself, you have to digest inspirations and then put out your response. So when you carry on, think about it. You could think you know what makes art art, because when we are making a piece of work inspired by the things I've come before us, and don't forget that we're all inspired by things, it's not something that we just choose to mention when we like or you know something that you know. Some people have more inspirations and others. And we all are inspired by things on what makes art. Art is the act of thought, active fusion of synthesis. So when we're putting things together, there is energy going into that that's making the new piece of our and that is what makes your art unique. It's your own unique application of thought, the personal response to what you're looking out on, why it means something to you. So, like I say, rather than seeking to be original, we seek to be authentic, authentic to the reasons as to why those things in spirals on why we want to act upon the feeling that give us. So to get even more philosophical, we can get down to the question. You know what really is art, because our isn't just know when it comes to costumes and styling and locations and pixels in all these things are just materials that we're using to express something on that expression that makes the source of inspiration different from what we make as a result of being inspired by it. The difference between them is it energy we put in to make that new piece of art because that's what our is energy that we have that we have put out in the visual form. There's nothing sacred about a picture or a camera or pixels. You know, this is just an expression and attempt, but us to put out what we feel inside on the things are inspirations are just catalysts for that. They just help get out what we're trying to say. So if we take from multiple sources internalized, um, and then respond genuinely from within, this is how to be original by being inquisitive, not taking from one source on responding as to how those think how those things collectively engage with us, we make something that is unique. Um, if you want to use that word unique, sometimes that word unique original could be misleading because we're led to believe that we can't ever kind of be inspired by something we see. But as long as we are actually making sense of white, inspires us on looking at lots of other things as well. You don't idolize one photographer. Don't just follow one body of work all just, you know, emulate one picture. You want to look up more than one thing because that is how you engage with who you are. And if you do take from one source and you try and replicate it, the inspiration is more like fast food. It's not nourishing is not sustaining. It's just something you're trying to definitely put out because you want to be. Maybe like that person who's put that work out. But that is a road to destruction because you don't want to be them. You want to be yourself. So it's important to look at other people's work because everything we do is basically a mixture of everything that's come before us. All that is around us. So it's no, it's some photographers, maybe need to look up more off other people's work. Some photographers need to look less other people's work looking and looking away are equally important because you need to look enough to engage with the world around you and be inspired. But then you also need to be able to look away and say, Okay, well, I'm gonna work on what is in my response to all of this. Who am I? Why do I create art? So what is the use of thinking about all of this? Because It does sound in a way to be a bit of like every very kind of philosophical stuff, but, you know, we want kind of, like Mull over for a while. But then how is it relevant? Are those photographers that want to make a living from what we do? What reminds us to collect and store inspiration like squirrel? Like I've been saying, you know, to look, to look for other people's work. It's really important to To and to keep seeing things that you like, you know, where the rights saving pictures off, what you see on the Internet into a folder of of inspirations. And you have that kind of visual storehouse to go back to, and you realize that, you know, it's not just one picture. You're obsessed with its lots of pictures that inspire you in lots of different ways, and they're all making little sparks. You want toe, make your own kind of alchemy from yourself. Um, and it also means that when you see something you like and you inspired by be happy because that picture has struck something new that you like. And there was something you like most about it that hits according you and use up to you to define what that is and to combine that with other inspirations or the sparks also to retreat into your squirrel. Then so just carrying on that strange analogy, I like that. I also think it's important not to just be completely immersed in other people's work all the time because you'll never get chance to breathe. You want a chance to digest what you have consumed from all of those different sources and to think about how you might go about, um, kind of going inside yourself. And that's the point where I guess some people think their inspiration does come purely from within, but it comes purely from within after you have digested the inspirations from from the outside. So it does come from within, but only after you've collected from the inside, because no one arrives on Earth, you know, pure from another planet. We've not without being affected by anything we've seen before, where when when we're born, we were affected by everything. As we're growing up things, we see things we experience. They all become a part of our PIN board of inspirations, some very deeply rooted and subconscious, and some more obvious also reminds us not to fear duplication as long as we re mix. So what I mean by that is not to fear using things that other people have used in their pictures, whether it be props or locations or whatever. As long as we re mix, we mix them together with other things that we like as well. It's not so much about, you know, avoiding things. You know, there being a stigma around using a certain type of proper location. The picture I showed you earlier of the self portrait on the tires. Remember when I shared that on Flicker and I had someone very indignant that I'd copied their picture of a woman on tires? And I've never seen the picture of formal on tires before? And I kind of, I mean that I just said to them that I haven't seen your picture before, and I certainly didn't try to imitate it, but women and tires or something that being used in many pictures. So it's not necessarily so much that I mean that that it's about imitation. It's about how you're using these these items, all these ideas and concepts in your work and how much you're genuinely responding to them without, you know, necessarily imitating other people's work. Which is something that you you're answerable to yourself because you're ultimately the one that's gonna feel good when you make work from the right motivations and not from just the desire to create work like that's like somebody else's. And it also reminds us of the point of art or of life. It all is a sci fi on. So I like I just said there, you know, it's not ultimately about looking great or even about getting commercial work. I mean, that is the thing that we really want to do, you know, in our existence, we want to make money. We want to be successful. Ultimately, even when we're being successful, we want to be satisfied within and feel like that. Success is because we have really listen to what we want to do on responded genuinely so combatants were genuine and authentic beyond photography, blurring the boundaries inspiration. So he's just a couple of thoughts on inspiration on and little things to think about. So I I think generally that the most interesting photographers are perhaps the most successful. A mixture of those kind of words in terms of people who are doing well or look like they're creating images that are interesting are those that draw inspiration from outside of photography as well as within. So they look at other art forms on they are engaged with their art forms and other aspects of life aren't necessary just about looking at photographs on. And I think that's really conducive to work that is more likely to be a bit more different because they're sourcing their inspirations from these different pockets. And it means that the result is not just gonna be combined. Not just gonna be result off the photographic inspirations that went into it. And it also means that often times you can create something that is, um, interesting in itself, even if you haven't be inspired by that many ingredients. So what I mean by that is, for example, a few years ago I did a series of work where I was directly inspired by the works of the painter Balthus on. I just basically created works that were directly inspired by the colors and the just the the furniture and this mood in his images. So there wasn't I wasn't really combining, necessarily at least consciously, that inspiration with loads of others. I was just making a photography version of it. So by making a photography version of paintings, it was already something different because it was two art forms that were crossing over there. Look to the child. Childhood contains purest motivations. This is when you talk about for a long time. But I just want to touch upon it because I really believe that a lot of the characteristics we show his Children and the things we're interested in when we were little on have really relevance to us as we grow up and then it's almost like in adult form. We have the ability to put into practice a lot of things that we were unable to do with a child. But we can still put the same flavors and motivations. I think there's riel glimmers of our real self and as a child because you're pure and you're basically just acting on impulse. So I'll give you an example of this that made me think of this is I remember watching a video about fashion photographer and you three years ago, she was talking about how she was always reading fashion magazines when she was little, and I kind of thought, Well, I'm not because I haven't done that myself. I was kind of reading all kinds of things and not necessarily a focus on fashion or kind of feminine things. I was kind of a mix of all all kinds of things, from from adventure books, toe comics to a few kind of fashion related things. But there wasn't a pure focus on fashion, which is why I probably now as an adult, I don't have that, you know, fascination for just fashion. It's something more about adventure and artistry that isn't just about you know, the fascination with fashion as a commodity, because I'm not so interested in the whole cycle of trends and seasons as much as I am about making art that is timeless, your machine not just to have ideas about how you make them consistently happen. How does dream meet reality? So the photographer you do anyone time will be in accordance toe what you can actually make happen, don't know big time that make this point sound too complicated. What I mean by this Is that at any one time, If you want to do something, you have to think about how you're gonna make it happen. So it has to be kind of in accordance to what you're willing to do with part of your lifestyle. So, for example, if you want to make a series of images of beaches through the world throughout the world, then how you gonna get to go and see all these beaches, how you're gonna make travel a part of fuel lifestyle? No good, just going to one beach on a holiday and one you know, one set images doesn't make a Siri's you have tow. Think about how it's gonna match what you're willing to do and what you're able to do right now. And I'm gonna be talking more about that on day three because I'm going to talk about how my lifestyle at any one time has informed and shaped the photography that I am producing and from a self portrait two days through to what I do now, and that will be in accordance to photography in life, being kind of handing hand and part of evolution being is natural progress that you make according to the lifestyle, your living and how the true you comes out in what you do for a living. So, um, this is just like a brainstorm of loads of inspirations, of stuff in my own work. The reason I just put it all on like that is because I want to visually show you how this is just like an explosion of different things there, the mixture of lots of things I don't want talk about inspirations without mentioning some inspirations of my own. But these are mixture of things that are just part off a landscape off inspirations that have been there in my mind that haven't necessarily inspired a particular art piece, but they're just there as things. I enjoy things. I like things I wanted to write down when I thought of this question of inspirations. And there's also things on there that are more directs. Like, for example, there are particular paintings that I've like. I mentioned above his paintings and also visit. I mentioned earlier segment the picture I did of myself with a snake, which is directly inspired by a painting John Collier's Lilith. But that's one of the rare times I actually draw direct inspiration from a piece because usually I just see things and give me a vague murmur of inspiration that I put into my kind of visual my mental storehouse and I just let stay there is part of the landscape. There's also things in there that inspired me very early on in my work that inspired me more in the beginning days as part of that, that that stage of my evolution, things that inspire me more now new things, old things, things from childhood. So this is like a laughably slims leather of what really goes into inspiring and informing my work. Because, of course, like I say, there's so much more buying spices beyond our comprehension. And it's important to be aware of that because it's not that we have some great ability to be completely original. It's about how we respond to the world around us and how we're kind of remixing and making new you consolidations off it. That is what our is, because art is your thought, your ability to look at things and be moved by them and then express that in a new piece of art So this is the tip of the iceberg, and there's so much more that goes into my work. Like I say, I'm gonna be showing inspirations that I've gone into my mood boards of my shoots a little bit later so you can see where I've put together images of I've just found on the Internet and such like so everyone has a trail of inspirations. Talking about them is not so much about honesty but awareness and discussion. Eso, for example. I'll talk about an artist here, Kirsty Mitchell, who some of you may have heard off when her work is inspiring in on many levels. Work is very visual. You haven't seen a work. Definitely check it out because it's just using feast for the eyes. But what among so many things I find inspiring about Kirsty Mitchell is the way that she is very open about her inspirations. Because it's very, very much reminds me off when you're at college and you're in putting together like a sketchbook, showing visually what's going to the planning of a piece. And she treats her block like that when she's showing how she's making a new piece of art. She's shown all these many inspirations within on outside of photography. So she knows by by, for example, paintings or visuals from different tribes around the world films all the photography as well. Like Gregory Crewdson, she's inspired by so much. But she shows how she's putting it together so that honesty makes her work even better because it shows that she's got nothing that she's trying to necessarily hide. She is responding very genuinely, based on her own feelings is an artist and what she wants to put into a work. And that's what I find inspiring about her is that she really has her own vision and drive off why she doesn't work and how she puts together those inspirations. So it doesn't necessarily mean that everyone should kind of create rock posts, talking about always inspirations that goes into going to their work. But it's just interesting when you can call upon things that did become part of an inspiration, because it doesn't mean that you are somehow admitting that you're not as unique as people thought you were. It's it's something that you're just highlighting that is everyone house, and you're just simply pointing out something that everyone has. You're just making it more of a talking point, which can be interesting for people who are watching and reading and learning about the artist inspiration through on all levels, not only visual like, for example, I just mentioned Costa Mitchell and the way in which she expresses herself through her sketchbook like block posts but also a person's focus person's attitude. Business skills are rather skills, so I don't know. For example, um, you might be inspired by the way. And I'll just puts himself into their work, even if they, you know, inspired by their visual outcomes, necessarily in line with the shoulder that you're interested in. Like I don't know, for example, Banksy and the way that he puts political messages into his work. You might be inspired by the way someone makes a business ranch from what they do is a photographer like maybe they have made a particular on business from what they do on the side from their photography. And, you know, I find endless inspiration in in looking at the way in which people conduct their lifestyles and the way creative ways that they make money as well, because I find the way our business come together, a very interesting relationship because it's not just about kind of compromising your art to make some money from it. There's also this whole world of creativity when it comes to ways to actually make a living from what you do that wouldn't have been the same if you didn't have to make a living and bring out these whole new worlds and whole new situations that you wouldn't have had otherwise. I'm an example of that is my fashion shoot experience in the situations that's brought out between myself and other photographers and a lot of friends that we've met through that because of that kind of slightly, I guess, entrepreneurial aspect to creating it. So mood boards sometimes inspirations are mystical when I have talked about all the unconscious, subconscious inspirations that go into what we do. But some inspirations give us a clearer view of where we want to go. A mood board is like physical version off the papier mache a of inspirations that I mentioned earlier when I showed you the little bad diagram of the smiley face with shapes. Eso mood ball is where you are literally getting inspirations visually, to put in a place where you can show I've yourself or usually someone else. What you're very kind of pin balled of moods is for a particular shoot. So we're gonna be looking at some mood boards now from different shoots I've done in recent past. So, um, I'm really pleased that I'm able to show his mood balls. These are not my images. Thes air images that have been sourced through the Internet and I put together is a mood board. So it's really helpful for me to be able to show these, because this is like a great way for me to show. It's not just all about my work and looking at my own past work and where don't wanna go. It's all about looking at other people's work as well. And so this is a mood board I did for, um, shoot in L. A. That we did last year. So it's like a scifi themed shoot on. I just wouldn't saw seeing images on Google images and stuff like that. I'm just putting to throwing together a mood board mainly for my own purposes. So this mood both I'm showing here is a mood board that I've put together just to communicate. Uh, not so much with the stylist, but just to Matthew, mainly on to myself in terms of what I might do with the lighting of the shoot, because a little bit later, I'm going to show you stylist mood balls. But these are my photography mood boards. So I love the word mood board because it really sums up what is. It doesn't necessarily mean you want to recreate the picture in that set. It doesn't mean that you, you know, you really strongly love the picture. It's just a general vague feeling of mood that you are cold, too, when you see that picture. You might even wonder why now if you put a picture in there, but it's just something that strikes you. So in here I'm drawn towards this kind of scifi aspect of the styling on, and also the lighting and some of the images as well on the futuristic appeal. And they're the final images that I created on this shoot, you know, they're not necessarily completely in line with the images that I've sauced. It's all about the mood is all about that being some kind of like arrows, pointing from those images to the final result cycle in terms of their lighting in terms of some uncanny similarities, like the longer woman kind of being replicated in the image there that I've got that wasn't entirely intentional at all. But it's just interesting to look after, would look at them afterwards and see where you have called upon some of those little inspirations that went into it. So let's have a look. Another one. This is another set of images that's not my work. It's sort images that I've sourced from the Internet and put together. There's a lot of Tim Walker pictures in there. Andi. This is a selection of images that I just put together upon interpreting the location for a shoot that we did in this Brooklyn brownstone mansion a couple of years back. So you see some similarities in terms off the warmth of the tones in their you've also got a little bit of uncanny, mirroring off the man by the fireplace in the middle of the mood board and the woman by the fireplace that I produced at the shoot, which wasn't again intentional. It's just something that was kind of in the ballpark area of what was inspired by after seeing images off the location to then go up from mood board images and then reflect upon how those mood board images have a affected the look of the final things that I made. We've got another one here mood board for Hamptons Mansion Shoot that we did last year again, just some kind of subtle references and also some more direct references because there's an image in there off the woman of the spiral staircase on. This is an image actually plucked out its own image by Tim Walker and I showed the stylist and Matthew landed, and I kind of communicate together and said, You know, we want to create something inspired by this image because we know there's gonna be a spiral staircase in the location. Let's have lead, make a dress that is long on something in line with this, not to recreate it by any means, but to respond to the inspiration of the impact in the image on the coincidence of the same kind of prop this staircase. And you've also got the woman with the thing on my head as well. That's ironically become reflected in the styling of the model there you see on the top so that these images couple of these images were in the stylist Mood board as well. So may well of influence landed. So yeah, there's quite few Tim Walker pictures in there as well, because his images are very broad range, almost like an encyclopedia of inspiration for fashion on finance. Okay, And here you've got a style smooth board. So this is a mood board that's put together by the stylist for a shoot that we did in London last year with a kind of mermaid nautical feel. So she was sourcing images that had this kind of mermaid look to them on bond. So this was in response to the location that we gave images of the location we gave her. She suggested this kind of look and we thought it was great. And that went into the look of the styling and affected also. Obviously, my images is part of the way I interpreted that famous well, because the styling becomes part of the way I interpret the directions for surrealism. Not that all the images had surrealism I did a couple of surreal images from this. I also create another one that's not on there that you will see through the workshop, which is the girl in the fishing shack with the big blue dress and the fish underneath her. That's another one that was part of this particular shoot with the Mermaid references onto You've got another styling mood board for a particular shoot on lots of kind of headpieces and ferial kind of powder powder venous going on and a little bit of taxidermy in Angela's. So this became reflected in styling on the outcomes from that shoot again, it's not no, by no means supposed to be some kind of like the right replication. It's just that mood board on the use usefulness of a mood board. So the stylist was using the mood board to communicate to me on the other photographers involved in the shoot because it was one of our production shoots off fashion to experience shoots. So we were able to show this to the other photographers and show them what they were ready for and what they could to start preparing ideas for