Note from Rob: Today’s post is written by Angie McMonigal of Angie McMonigal Photography. We’re each writing a post for the other’s blog and I hope that you check her site out and become a regular reader of her as well.
I’m honored to be exchanging guest blog spots with Rob Domaschuk Photography today! I recently took a class with Rob called Fine Art Photography: Seeing the World Differently through Chicago Digital Arts & Photography Studio. This class came to my attention at just the right time! And lucky me, I got a one-on-one class since it seems most photographers don’t want to spend a summer day indoors…not me, I’m ready for this long, hot summer to come to an end!
Just a little background…when I started photography my goal was to pursue fine art photography but somewhere along the way I got pulled into portraiture, not a bad thing, but ultimately not what I want to be pursuing. Recently I’ve been looking for motivation to get back on track. Rob’s class was just one way for me to get inspired!
One of the subjects we discussed was about what inspires us, and how that can influence our photography. I recently had a light bulb moment and hearing this again just reinforced how true it is that you need to just get out and experience things outside of your photography. You never know what might hit a chord with you and lead you in a new direction or help you see something that’s been right in front of you all along!
My influences come from a few different areas: music, books, other art, whether that be another artist’s photography, paintings or sculpture and simply wandering around the city streets.
A few months ago I was reading the book What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell and there was a section in the book about late bloomers. Gladwell specifically focused on artist Paul Cézanne and how he didn’t come into his prime artistically until much later in life (he was 59 when he had his first solo exhibition). He also started his career in law as opposed to art; like so many of us photographers who also started out and continue to work in other professions, many times not at all related to the world of photography. He also shifted styles within his painting career, something I think happens to many of us photographers, especially when we’re just starting out.
There’s something about his story that is so inspiring to me; the sheer perseverance to keep producing paintings, despite so many rejections, and the support system he had to push him to keep creating. Obviously he and his patrons saw something in him the jurors of his younger years didn’t. I think photography, and any artistic endeavor, comes with so much rejection and self-doubt that knowing artists before you struggled early on, but ultimately persevered and are seen today as preeminent in their field, can keep you going when the inevitable self-doubt creeps in.
On a completely different form of inspiration, related to my seemingly endless quest to find my specific style and need for a project or series to feel like a ‘real’ photographer…I recently spent the morning exploring the Museum of Contemporary Art’s, Skyscraper: Art & Architecture Against Gravity exhibit and something just clicked with me while I was walking through there. Seeing all the different aspects of the exhibit and urbanity of it make me realize I might actually have a project of my own. Seeing others art, and sometimes specifically seeing another photographer’s images, helps to get me focused or see something I may not have seen within my own work.
Every one of us is different and gains inspiration in different ways, but I urge you to think about what gets you inspired. Is it a specific park, city street, style of music, poems, a quote or style of painting? Whatever it may be, get out there and explore, you just never know what might inspire you to create something great!
– Angie McMonigal