Let’s Talk Photography – Ep.56 – Inspiration

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In this solo show Bart ponders inspiration, and particularly how things we disapprove of and dislike can none-the-less inspire us. Bart also ponders the really big question — does photography make a difference? This show was inspired by some great discussions on two recent Shutter Time episodes (193 & 195) with Antonio Rosario, Sid & Mac.

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Response to/Inspired By

“the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”

  • Inspiration is an inverse bell curve — things that we approve of or like a lot can inspire us very strongly, things we don’t care about don’t inspire us, and things we strongly disapprove of or dislike a lot can inspire is very strongly too.
  • Everyone is comfortable with the positive side of the inverse bell curve, but some find the negative half somehow disconcerting, or worrying, or distasteful
  • To me, inspiration is one of the most positive forces in the universe because it allows us to turn something terrible into something good.
  • What inspires me to photograph?
    • Mostly my love of learning, and of sharing knowledge (trains, local landscapes, local history, nature …)
    • Sometimes, an emotional journey (monochrome historic cemeteries project)
  • Does it make a difference?
    • Pulitzer prizes are very often than photos of human suffering caused by other humans — if photos of these things make a difference, why do they still happen?
    • Making a difference is not all or nothing — award winning journalistic photography does not end all human suffering, but that doesn’t mean it does nothing!
    • Prize-winning photos are by definition a selection, so while they do show that there is still suffering in 2018, they don’t tell us anything about how wide-spread that suffering is, or whether or not things are worse on average or better on average in 2018 than they were in 1918.
    • IMO, if a photo makes one person stop and think, it was worth while.
    • Change is very slow, and very incremental, but it’s built upon billions of little moments where someone was somehow inspired to think, to ask questions, or even just to feel.

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