A good question from the "Hey Leigh" emails...
I wanted to write a blog post because I don't really have a good...translation (SAFE) answer for it. It's a real challenge. The individual who wrote me asked for my honest opinion on how I find/see the images that I make. Apparently I shot something that's in his neck of the woods, something he sees on a daily basis but never paid much attention to before now.
So here is the thing...if I could answer that question I could also tell you what drove George Lucas to dream up an alternate galaxy far away where good and evil are locked in an epic battle that spanned generations. I could also tell you how J.R.R. Tolkien imagined a huge area of land inhabited by Orcs, Elves...etc and call it Middle Earth. Inspiration comes in many forms and it's different for everyone.
I kind of think about it this way...
Give a child a complete set of Legos and leave them alone for awhile. By the time you come back, there will either be a pile of Legos or a complete eco system with cars, dwellings and monsters chasing everybody. I suppose inspiration is a function of who you are and what you've been exposed to, combined with a little artistic license.
So for myself I can only answer this way...I spent the first seven (7) years of my life in a town so small it may have well been called a village. While my parents worked, I spent the days at my grandparents home on what seemed like a huge swath of land. No matter how far I chased wild animals with my cousins, we never ran out of space. To me that was my entire world..until I got a set of Encyclopedia Brittanica books.
My inspiration could very well be rooted in curiosity. I have a deep desire to see and experience just about everything.
Every single person in my family is an early riser. We come from an agricultural background, 4 generations deep. So you can imagine that I learned to appreciate sunrise and sunsets. We were also surrounded by the ocean with ribbons of rivers and narrow canals that snaked across the island to each plantation. I do some of my best thinking when any two of that trio are combined.
Some of the greatest writers in recent history stole themselves away to obscure, exotic locations. I assume to filter out the noise that comes from a busy metropolis. Unencumbered from the rat race, they were free to think outside the box and imagine stories that would likely have been impossible while locked in a 9 to 5.
Sunrise and sunset tend to be the most noise-free parts of my day.
While abroad I'll notice locals walking around, tending to their daily routines. It's as if they don't see that wonderful natural light, interesting mountain structures, emerald waters or unique buildings. They probably think I'm crazy getting down on my knees to snap off a few frames at an old rusty door.
It's the voices that say what camera you have to buy, how many megapixels you should have...this and that lens. What clothes to wear, what car to drive...where to live who to love. All distracting, and confusing.
Aside from dawn and dusk..I spend a good deal of time reading art, history and poetry. Mostly history. I also have a large list of photographers and artists who's writing and works I regularly view. Whenever you think that it's all been done, do take a look at the creations of others in your space. Each person has a unique way of seeing and interpreting and though it might be the exact same subject matter, we all get something different out of it.