In Photo Techniques magazine there was this quote attributed to Chuck Close:
“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.”
This sort of misses the point of inspiration. Obviously, you can’t stare at clouds all day, but that doesn’t mean you have to have your nose to the grindstone continuously either. I think a lot of inspiration is simply keeping your mind open and aware of what’s going on as you move through life. Inspiration doesn’t need to be lightning bolts and explotions. It can be simple things like ice cubes. Here’s a recent example of some macro shots I did:
I don’t know if this qualifies as high art, but it’s a nice example of beauty in every day objects. While cracking ice out of an ice cube tray I noticed that the structues inside the ice were beautiful. Since I’ve got Canon’s MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens, I decided to put some ice cubes in front of it and see what I got. You can see the result above as the trapped air bubbles freeze in the ice
My point is that inspiration can happen anywhere and from anything. You can do your day in and day out work, but more often than not, the really exceptional work… the work that really separates you from your competitors, comes from getting inspired. And that inspiration usually doesn’t happen on demand anyways. It’s the things you notice on your peripheral vision. The hint of something that comes unthought of and unlooked for. That magic that happens when you’re doing yardwork and the sunlight hits the wall in a way you’ve never seen and it reminds you of something that creates an ‘aha’ moment.
The most interesting way I’ve ever come up with a product, was noticing how my hair moved in a pool. That inspiration led to one of our After Effects products, Geomancy, that creates animated, flowing lines.
I’d love to hear any odd inspiration stories you have…