Inspiration from others (The Deck – Week 24)

Often enough, where we get the inspiration for some photographs are from other photographs or paintings.  Sometimes we don’t even realize that we have taken inspiration from others, it may be a sub-conscious remembrance from childhood, from the numerous books we may have read, or shows we have looked at.  And then there are the true “artists” among us who create those photographs that become our inspiration.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, whether or not you believe that is your opinion, but if any of my photos resembles any of yours or others that you may have seen, I will readily admit that it’s either a coincidence or I was inspired by someone’s  photo or work of art.  Whenever Nikhil is inspired by articles, books or photographs on a particular type of photography, it quickly transforms from inspiration to a passion, and because he includes me in his photo-walks we often discuss whatever area he is inspired by at that point of time.  I don’t often share his passion on every aspect, but many times the ideas and the photos he takes, inspires me, and he has even accused me of outdoing him once in his new field  🙂  I like to believe that I merely took his lessons and learnt a little from them.

I like to believe that I am somewhat creative, but I also love to take inspiration from others, often times, it is simply because it’s easier  🙂  I think that maybe creative was the wrong word to use, I have seldom thought of photography as a creative artform, to me it is a recording of a scene, but some say that to record it the way some photographers have been able to do it requires a bit of creativity.  Who am I to argue?

What’s the real point of all this rambling?  Recently my Aunt showed me an old album of photographs of different places in Guyana (more of Georgetown than anywhere else) and both she and I thought that it would be nice to do a “revisit” of some of them.  For one thing, it would show a comparison of similar scenes across a number of years, but it could also show the different attitude of the photographers, just duplicating the scene could be meaningless, showing it from your own perspective could have more meaning, at least for the photographer.  One day I will get around to this project, one day.

Inspiration is one thing,  just taking the same photo from the same spot of the same scene is just plain lazy.  Think to yourself, what about the original image inspired you?  Was it the angle? Was it the subject? Was it the colours or the composition?  Take the inspiration you got and try to make an inspiring photo of your own, even if you fail, at least you tried.

Below you’ll see a photo circa 1940 of Cabbage Walk (an unusual name, it’s the roadway into Le Repentir Cemetary from Louisa Row in Georgetown) that inspired one of my own, also shown below, at the Botanical Gardens,  I’m sure you can tell the difference  🙂

Cabbage Walk (circa 1940), photographer unknown.
The Botanical Gardens, 2010

3 thoughts on “Inspiration from others (The Deck – Week 24)

  1. Firstly, on the images, yours is better (and not just because you said such kind words about me 🙂 It may just be a matter of preference, but I prefer the composition of your shot, the receding diagonal, to the straight on shot.

    On the subject of inspiration; I doubt that there is very much creative work produced in a vacuum. In one manner or another we all get inspired by something or other. Whether it is seeing someone else’s take on a particular subject or being influenced by the way someone else looks at something; the end result, for better or worse, is all yours.

  2. Mary Rose

    This is great. I love the angle at which you took the shot. It amazes me that one can make such a simple view look so wonderful. I think it says “Forget the road ,let’s go toward that bridge.”
    Makes you wish the old picture was done in color as well. Those who know what “Cabbage Walk” looks like now would not recgonise it from the picture.
    Keep the good work up and thanks for writing the blogs. I enjoy reading and learning from your narratives.
    Looking forward to seeing the “Then and Now shots”

  3. Pingback: Inspired « The Michael Lam Collection's Blog

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