Inspiration

What’s the most important thing for a photographer to have besides a camera? It’s something that you need more than gear, more than the best camera, more than knowledge and know how. It’s something that the best photographers had/have loads of. Without it your photos are destined to be mediocre snap shots at best. It can be found (and lost, and found again) everywhere in anything and at any time, yet it can still remain illusive. It’s inspiration.

“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” – Man Ray

Motivation isn’t inspiration. A lot of people confuse motivation with inspiration which is easy to do, the English language can be a confusing and terribly tricky thing sometimes.

Motivation is encouragement to do something you don’t want to do.

Inspiration is encouragement to do something you do want to do.

We need to be motivated to do things like go to work. If we don’t go to work we won’t get paid, if we don’t get paid we can’t afford to pay the rent or mortgage, we won’t be able to afford to eat and survive or participate in things we enjoy. Photography motivates us to go to work so that we can pay the rent or mortgage, so that we can eat, so that we can survive, and most importantly pursue our passion.

Inspiration is what we need when we want to do something but don’t know where to start. But where do you get that inspiration from?

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Street photography documentaries

Before I was a photographer I don’t notice how many other people also had a camera. When I got a camera and became a photographer I realised just how many people have cameras too. Welcome to the “frequency illusion,” or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, the term for the phenomenon where by once you notice something you start noticing it more frequently. I experienced the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon again after I watched Everybody Street, since then I have discovered a bunch of other street photography documentaries. The below documentaries are the best documentary films that I have discovered about street photography and street photographers. I’d recommend watching them all.

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How many Punch Cards does it take to store one RAW file?

James "Jingles" Ingles - untitled - 28/10/2014

Memory cards, USB thumb drives, and HDDs are common storage mediums familiar to anyone that has used a computer. Some people, particularly younger generations, have probably never even heard of Zip Drives, Jaz Drives, Floppy Disks (8”, 5.25”, and 3.5”), Mini Disks, SuperDisk (AKA LS-120) or Magnetic Tape. Most people that used those storage mediums have most likely forgotten about them, with the exception of magnetic tape which is still in use today. Does anyone even remember the Magneto-Optical Drive? All of the afore mentioned storage mediums are nothing but casualties of progress relegated to the annls of history.

Most older storage mediums offer only a fraction of the storage space that we enjoy to today. In fact some old storage mediums wouldn’t even be able to hold a single RAW file produced by modern cameras. For example the capacity of the humble 3.5” Floppy Disk was only 1.44MB. You would require 20 3.5” Floppy Disks to store a single 28 MB RAW file.

If you think 20 3.5” Floppy Disks is a bit excessive to store just one single RAW file then stop and ponder how many Punch Cards it would take to store a single RAW file.

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That’s a bit weird isn’t it?

Street photography is as easy as it is hard to practice compared to other genres of photography. It’s easier because you can shoot anywhere any time. It’s harder, in part, because it takes more guts to shoot people in public, especially given the current socio-political climate right now. If people aren’t suspicious of people making photos in public then they think that it’s just plain weird.

One night I was crossing the road to the train station when some random guy engaged me about my photography, this is how it went

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What I love about street photography

What I love about street photography

Untitled - 20-10-2013 - By James "Jingles" Ingles

I love street photography because:

Street photography is challenging. Out on the street it is chaos, you have little to no control over the situation and how things happen. You can’t make things happen the way you want them to happen. You have to try and make order out of the chaos with light, time, and your camera as the only tools. In street photography you have to be able to anticipate things that will happen then be fast enough to capture the image. In product, studio, fashion, and other types of photography you have a lot more control and tools to give you control over the situation than you do in street photography. In some ways other genres of photography is a lot easier than street photography. It is the challenge of street photography that I enjoy.

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Desiderata and photography

“Desiderata” (Latin for “desired things”) is a prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann written in 1927. Over the years the poem has become quite popular and there has been a number of different renditions. My favourite is Leonard Nimoys reciting of the poem titled “Spock Thoughts” from his 1968 album, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy. Have a listen:

Desiderata is a timeless and classic poem, it’s just as relevant today as it was the day it was written. It’s a wonderful philosophy for life and photography.

This is what I have learned about photography from Desiderata.

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