Non-Photographic Inspiration

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by michael j hoffman, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Just curious who among us might draw photographic inspiration from non-visual sources. I take inspiration from a number of non-visual sources to include writing and music. I often try to keep Hemingway's spartan "just enough" method of defining a scene in my mind as I photograph; Poe's literary use of color and darkness is another muse. I am also inspired by various different kinds of music when I photograph. From where do you draw your non-visual, photographic cues, if at all?
    Michael J Hoffman
     
  2. A difficult subject matter to address. I'm not that sure that it is meaningful to separate non-visual source of inspiration and visual ones. According to some theories moods have colors as it is expressed for examples in chromotherapy. If this is right, and it is indeed contested by some, than any "mood" that is created through music, poems, literature etc is translated into visual effects and would influence your photographical expressions. Furthermore, past visual experiences play surely an immediate role whenever we are are subject to inspiration through non-visual sources.
     
  3. My inspiration is always non-photographic, life. For how else would I find a reason to turn it into something photographic if it wasn't.
     
  4. Still, and probably always, music influences just about everything I do, both in photography and in other graphic art and even cooking. Oddly, I tend to listen to dark, often dissonant music, yet I don't think that shows itself in my photos, so perhaps the influence is they balance each other?

    It reminds me of an article I read in HS about synaesthetic illusions. Basically, its cross referencing your senses; what does the color orange sound like? What does Geddy Lee's voice look like? Kinda gives one a new way to experience something.

    I'd like to say I try to incorporate these things when I'm shooting, but I'm still in that "ooh look" phase. I guess like all influences, they tend to happen a little more naturally.
     
  5. Smells.
    Seriously. They are not my only non-photographic inspiration by any means, but they often stir me deeply and that "stirring" almost always takes me by surprise.
     
  6. Nothing.
    Sounds ridiculous, but I'm mostly into nature photography, and making the most of what surrounds me has helped me. I've been into zen meditation for a few years, and I find that completely clearing my mind before an outing allows me to notice much more, and react to what I see more spontaneously. But I do find that while I'm shooting, there always seems to be strangely appropriate music going round and round in my mind.
     
  7. Michael J Hoffman [​IMG], Oct 14, 2009; 02:54 p.m.
    Just curious who among us might draw photographic inspiration from non-visual sources. I take inspiration from a number of non-visual sources to include writing and music.
    Michael, I use my full range of senses when I photograph. I am fortunate to live in a part of the country (NYC) where different neighborhoods have different smells, attitudes, vibes, languages etc. Here'a a short movie that I put together to compliment the tune I built from stock audio clips, in the tradition................
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6hT57GVbPA
    As you can see, it's all stills brought to life with music.
    Enjoy !!
    Bill P.
     
  8. TM Cleland [​IMG], Oct 14, 2009; 04:05 p.m.
    Still, and probably always, music influences just about everything I do, both in photography and in other graphic art and even cooking. Oddly, I tend to listen to dark, often dissonant music, yet I don't think that shows itself in my photos, so perhaps the influence is they balance each other?
    TM, I looked at your book and I saw a very cinematic approach to your work. There's a lot of drama under the surface, the "dark" music piece fits for me.
    Bill P.
     
  9. Marc, I do not find it weird what you're describing, though I've never done any meditation... But nature pictures for me turn out best when I'm very relaxed. And yeah, somehow music pops up when wandering through nature. But usually what pops up does not inspire as such, as that "choice" of music itself comes from the same source: that's the mood I'm in. But listening to music (before I leave) can set that mood. There is a difference (for me) in seeing a wood after something like Mahler's Lied von der Erde compared to a Mozart pianoconcerto. It makes me look for other things.
    In the end, the most (and for me best) inspiration comes from just being somewhere. Sucking up atmosphere, getting familiar with the place. That's partially a visual stimulation (the better you know a place, the better you know where to be), but also an emotional response. In some of my pictures, I can see which mood I was when taking them, but only for places I know really really well - so it just comes from within as it comes.
     
  10. Wouter,
    I have exactly the same experience. When I am photographing landscape, I hear Elgar and Vaughan Williams. I was doing some portraits recently to Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side'.
     
  11. I think it very much depends what genre you work in. But any 'input' which provides some sort of inspiration for your photography must be good.
     
  12. I tend to be project and event oriented. Without some event going on, or some intended project to pursue, I don't pick up the camera. It's a mindset thing for me.
    But almost all my work has been geared that way, not just photographic.
     
  13. Yep. Physiological and psychological mechanics of vision-mind pair, smell, subconscious manifestations, conscious experimentation in the twin light zone, good literature. Say, mind functionality of advanced and cultivated person.
     
  14. Ilia Farniev [​IMG], Oct 17, 2009; 07:49 a.m.
    Yep. Physiological and psychological mechanics of vision-mind pair, smell, subconscious manifestations, conscious experimentation in the twin light zone, good literature. Say, mind functionality of advanced and cultivated person.
    ....or, "I'm Waiting for the Man", by the Velvet Underground.....
    Bill P.
     
  15. Jo, Bill, you read my mind or what? let me throw the SPIRITS on the Pan. Like anything.
    I actually thought of this little more and came to conclusion it has got to be smells first of all, though many would't look at it this way. The taste of what you have eaten previo has probably much to do too.
    Calls of duty? Anyone?
     
  16. jtk

    jtk

  17. jtk

    jtk

  18. Music, definitely music.
    Writing, a big second . Rereading Poe and Chekhov stories because it's that time of year. Usually, going back to my favorite literary security blankets, I find newer insigths by reflecting on my past behaviors and demeanors since the last time I read familiar passages. Or, at least I hope to find a fresh, new outlook.
    Been recently inspired to go back to Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiment. I think a TED discussion on the net had something to do with that one.
    ....or, "I'm Waiting for the Man", by the Velvet Underground.....
    Bill P.​
    A lot of my Velvet hypnogogic imagery is very cinematic in nature.... tons of blown-out jump cuts, primary colors, Oscar Fischinger type drama. The fast, driving songs with white noise drones gurgling underneath do it all the time, same with some Link Wray stuff, a few Cpt. Beefheart tracks, and on and on.
    Closed-Eye-Visuals are more slide-showy with ragas, Bartok, Eberhard Schoener, Klaus Schulze, and Rosini cello concertos. I find I can concentrate on my old negatives and images that are burned into my mind if I meditate with these . Single images dissolve at an agreeable rate, like blobs of goo percolating in a Lava Lamp.
    Recently I've streamed or downloaded every version of Grateful Dead's "Eyes Of The World" I could find. Very tough to digest all of the nuances, but the 73-74 versions are best for jams with Phil thundering on bass, 77-78 has some good Jerry solos , and 80-82 sound too coked/amped up to me. I have my own version in 5 or 6 parts swimming in my head when I go walking.... almost homemade kinda sounding, slow, as if Andy Partridge fiddled with it one cloudy afternoon after a sullen weekend of staying in bed reading Antic Hay.
    When it rains and it's cold enough for a swetaer, a Bill Evans or Ahmad Jamal LP on the turmntable will do.
    =========
    But just being on the streets is enough. Hard to be uninspred here in NY/NJ.
     
  19. Sorry, duplicate post.
     
  20. Listening to Brahms has always gave me a lot of inspiration, I also find useful the scripts from directors like Jean-Luc Godard, who implicitly includes poetry in them. You just try to make a picture as if it was a part of the movie.
    I know about a lot of people that gets inspired by biographies to make their pictures; sounds logic to me, but have never tried it.
     
  21. Interesting question... definitely inspire me reading and music, not always in that order:
    • I like reading essays more than novels and also reading in the web. Usually, the essays provide to me new concepts or new approaches to concepts already known and are a source of inspiration. I'm very curious (I think so) and browsing and reading the web I find new topics.
    • I love all the music, from classical (Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky...) to rock, pop, hip-hop, rap... (Eminem, Police, Linkin Park, Black Eyed Peas, Green Day...) I never found a music I don't like it (... well, dodecaphony / twelve-tone technique, I hate it!). Is there someone inspired by a dodecaphony piece?
    The cinema and people also inspire me... but this is another question...
     
  22. jtk

    jtk

    I'm finding myself inspired by the energies some photographers put into their work....heavy commitments to certain human populations, to certain phenomena, to certain terrains...
    ... by "heavy" I mean total or near total for weeks or even decades. Recently, two "landscape" photographers have amazed me as much by their commitment as by their photographs. I'm not "into" landscape photography, but I'm certainly turned on by what these two photographers have done.
    I don't see photographs as ends in themselves, and certainly not as graphic exercises. I see them as part of my involvement in the world, helpful in understanding my relationships to people and ideas.
     

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