Photography Behind-the-Scenes: Trail of Inspiration





As an artist, finding inspiration can come from everywhere. Last week I was inspired to look to the past for inspiration and came across this photo by Sally Mann. If you do not know Sally Mann, she is considered one of the living masters of fine art photography today. Her work can be found in galleries across the nation and she's published multiple books. This photo below is some of her early work of her three daughters. What I loved about it was the rim light in the hair and the mysteriously darkness in the photo.


The next day, I was going through some photos from a recent wedding reception and found this one. I remembered when I took it. There was just something about these three abandon champagne glasses sitting on the bar that drew my attention. And, as I reviewed the photo on my computer, I realized I liked the rim light the most and it reminded me of the Sally Mann photo.


I started dissecting what I liked about the photo and thinking about how I could recreate it with other things. I started on my dining room table with my black reflector and a black board to block the light, similar to the way the light was blocked in the glass photo.


I tried the same set up with other objects....

For me it was fun, but not really what I wanted to create. I knew I wanted people photos. I searched the house for a similar lighting situation that would allow me to light a person. I ended up in the garage. As you can see below, my garage is packed full of stuff. But what I know is that the camera doesn't see light and dark the way I do. If I meter for highlights, the darkness will hide the swim fins, boogie boards and beach chairs hanging in the garage. I did want to camouflage it a bit more so I grabbed my black bulletin board paper that I found at a teacher supply store. I taped it to the walls.

In all these photos light is coming from a window on my right and some back light is coming through a crack in the garage door. As you can see I had to work around bikes too! Ha!
Left to right: Pull back of garage shoot with Katie followed by the final photo.
Left to right: Pull back of garage shoot followed by final photo.

This was my favorite. In all the photos ended up quite different than Sally Mann's photo or even my photo of the glasses, but there was something within those inspiration images that touched me. What inspires you in life? How can you apply that to your art? Share your photos in the comments. I would love to see them! Or you can share them with me on my Facebook page by clicking HERE.