What Inspires you?

Just a Sunday Night Blog….

My daughter Karalyn was visiting for the Summer and just left. This leaves me in a somber mood. I need to change my mood so I started to think what inspires me. The first thing that came to mind was a college friend reminding me about the 80th birthday of a professor that was coming up. You may say huh… but this was no ordinary professor. This man Thomas Richards, appropriately known as TR changed my life. It is kind of corny to think of the one person who influenced you but without a doubt this is the man. I was a student at Syracuse University and it was 1978 and I was off to London for a Semester. In the class was Bob Sacha, Stephen Wilkes, Nancy Leigh and few others. We all became friends and we were inspired by a truly amazing professor, Thomas Richards more affectionately known as TR. TR is retired but he still comes up in conversation on a very regular basis. Stephen, Bob and I went on to become college roommates and lifelong friends.

So where am I going with this. Well for one TR’s birthday is coming up. This man was not only an influence to me but also to a whole consortium of Syracuse University grads. Right off the top of my head comes Eric Meola, Clint Clemens, Joe McNally, Stephen Wilkes, Bob Sacha, Nancy Leigh and countless others. So again where am I going with this besides TR?

Whenever I’m in a dry spell of inspiration, also known as photographic block or temporary depression, a bottle of red wine will re-ignite the spark of inspiration in me. As helpful as this may be, it also puzzles me. What is it about red wine that makes me creative? What is it about photographers that picking 20 great images leads to depression?

Red wine, or more likely the alcohol that’s included in the package, has mysterious effects when it comes down to human behavior. It affects feelings, creativity, conscious thought, rationality and, when consumed in too large quantities, even motor skills. But of course with the appreciation of red wine comes a real love of red wine or in my case a fanaticism with red wine or anything else that truly inspires me.

Back to the original question

What inspires me o what is the effect of red wine that makes me creative again? I think it comes down to two things:

Red wine or rather good red wine

shuts down rationality
takes away inhibitions
These effects make each other stronger. If rationality is not important, inhibitions have no rational basis anymore. And with the inhibitions gone, irrationality is not stupid anymore. Creativity is often a spark of the unexpected. And that, down to the core is irrational; otherwise it was to be expected (or not?).

I, for one, never thought I would ever write about red wine or a college professor on a blog about photography, but it makes sense anyway.

Why do we need inhibitions in the first place? They only make sure we are ‘normal’ and ‘fit in’. You are an original, no matter what you do. If it is what everyone else is doing, that fine! And if it’s ‘different’, that’s fine too!

Since this is about photography, the people who really inspired me photographically are:
Thomas Richards TR… He let me find myself and gave the encouragement that only a true teacher can provide…
Susan Meiselas – I was a photojournalist and one day saw photographs of the war in Nicaragua and they were in color not black and white. The photographs were went beyond photojournalism and bought the concept of art and war in color under one roof. It bought everything photographically inside me together…http://www.susanmeiselas.com/
Jay Maisel- I affectionately refer to him as God. In Syracuse I knew I loved journalism and at the time black and white newspaper journalism attracted me but I wanted more inside. I saw Jay’s work and instantly knew that here was a guy that shot what he saw but did so in a way that I had never really seen. Spectacular color, form and composition and all real pictures. Yes he is still a God and a good friend and his work is legendary http://www.jaymaisel.com
Eric Meola- God 2 to me and only because I didn’t really get to know him until I already had a God 1… Eric is a combination of everything that makes photography attractive to me. Early on in my career I found his work to be my goal and my dream. On the commercial side he was doing things like helicopters at sunset with reflections in front of buildings and bizarre and profoundly graphic, a old cadillac sticking out of car port with perfect red and a blue sky. OMG I thought when I first saw these images and OMG I still think when I look at them 30 years later. http://ericmeola.com/
So the moral of the story is think about why you are inspired and who or what inspired you? and what is your favorite wine?
1994  Araujo Cabernet  is certainly my favorite wine……

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