Sunday, 2 April 2017

Finding Creative Inspiration in Everyday Moments.

Where do creative ideas come from? They are the basis of good pictures and they are certainly not born in isolation. My ideas at least are often a convergence of what I have seen, studied, experienced, that are then gelled into form by something.. Like last night. It's Sunday, I am walking down Crown Street near the Surry Hills primary school. The weather is rainy, it's dark so it's just the glow of street lights.. Then across the road, I notice a young woman wearing a, white with black polka dots pants suit striding ahead of a group of four. She looks great out in front; dark hair, tall, immaculately turned out. I drag my eyes away and search the trailing group to see it's composition, how many girls, guys? It's all guys! It's one immaculately turned out woman leading a tight knit group of four guys who are themselves engaged in cross conversation between themselves; perhaps that is why they are lagging back. There is a great animation between the group and an invisible thread tying them to the woman striding ahead in the polka dot pant's suit. It's a fantastic vision and it's real! Too real for my liking; the guys are wearing jeans and sweatshirts, she looks great, maximum effort; they look pretty unexceptional, but hey, it is an Australian story.. (Sorry guys, I know we do try sometimes, myself included.)

So why am I writing all this down? In part it's so I remember the scene a little better, and also to ask a question. Does this scene, this tableaux sound at all familiar? I ask because to me it really does. As soon as I saw it was only men following the woman, and the distance, and the communing of the men, my mind referenced the storehouse of images that lives somewhere in my head. And it came up with this image by Ruth Orkin, American girl in Italy.  www.orkinphoto.com/american-girl/
Though the picture in my head was not as finely detailed as the actual image itself.. I also wrongly mentally attributed this image to a French photographer who is equally famous for "stolen moment" pictures, the photographer Robert Doisneau. Arguably Robert's most famous picture is Le baiser de l'hotel de ville (Kiss by the Hotel de Ville).. and I am pretty certain that it is because I am familiar with these photographs and similar great works of photography that I was able to see a photograph when I saw the men led by the woman in polka dots last night. All of which makes for a bit of a which came first, the chicken or the egg kind of situation.

Of course looking at this famous image this morning I can see how the woman's stride struck a cord for me. The central four men, the two on each side of the woman have a dialogue that centres on the woman; and no doubt that was happening too, but between the men themselves last night. So something very different really but also great similar energies, at least as I saw them.

Will I do anything with the vision I saw that I am now sharing here, I really don't know? I am often inspired by things I see that I would like to work on in a shot; and sometimes I do (just click here); but mostly the ideas simply get stored in my head, waiting for a moment, an instant when they will inform the way I create an image that I am actually working on and make it better. And that for me is how inspiration really works, in the background, the subconscious, informing and creating new takes and hopefully new classics. Well you have to dream, don't you!

Would you like to see more of the wonderful work by the two photographers I mention above, just click the links below to visit their official web archives.
http://www.orkinphoto.com/
https://www.robert-doisneau.com/en/

Kent Johnson is a professional photographer working from Sydney, Australia.

Kent Johnson,
Sydney, Australia.

0433 796 863