How to find inspiration in street photography

I’m actually in a sort of photographer block, that don’t allows me to find the motivation/inspiration to shoot. During this period, when I walk through my city, everything looks the same, nothing different is going on.

I’ve put together a list of things I’m currently experimenting with:

1. Challenge myself

Nicolai-PT-Hoyerswerda-2015-0001

A great way of overcoming this creative block is to create new challenges. Every time I go out I’m trying to shoot a little bit different. There are different things to try like: trying to use a single color that dominate the scene, like shooting the red color, a very strong one; I experiment by shooting with different angle/composition, like tilting the camera and make the horizon of the photo tilted (also called ‘Dutch angle’ or ‘German angle’). As a way to breake the normal composition rules and create a more interesting photograph. Another technique is getting low to get a different and unique picture (many street photographs are shoot from eye-level). I use to crounch down or shot with my camera at waist-level (a good way to make me smaller and not be noticed) and shot the subject from a low angle. In this way the subject looks bigger and menacing than in real life.

2. Look at my old photographs

Nicolai-PT-hoyerswerda-germany-2016
Hoyerswerda, Germany 2016

Inspiration can be found also by looking at my old pictures. In this case I don’t need to go out and shoot, but I think this is an important activity too. Let me explain why.

By looking at my old photographs I can judge them more objectively, like if someone else shoot them. I study my old pictures and find what can I do better. I learn from my mistakes too, in this way I’ve the opportunity to improve my street photography and also find new inspiration.

3. Look at the masters of street photography

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Hoyerswerda, Germany 2018

 

Yes, another “passive” activity but I think that the best way to be inspired is studying the works of street photographers I admire and trying to “copy” their style.

Here are different street photographers that inspire me:

  • Stephen Shore. I really like his portrait of the American society and his ability to capture urban landscapes.
  • Martin Parr. For his ironical and critical point of view on modern society.
  • Joel Meyerowitz. I really enjoy his work, from his ability to shot in color to his ability to capture ordinary things.
  • William Eggleston. With his ability to capture beauty in the mundane and also his ability to take interesting photographs in his boring hometown.

And many others street photographers.

I find deep inspiration from them, and I aspire to make, one day, great photos like them.

4. Study other forms of art

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It’s important to not only find inspiration in photography but also in other forms of art like:

  • Painting: I really like the works of Edward Hopper, one of the gratest realist painters, famous for his portrayal of loneliness in contemporary American life. I like too the works of the surrealism movement and artists like Salvador Dalì. I also like Cubism and artists like Pablo Picasso. These last two are unconventional artistic movements of all the times. Maybe I must take unconventional, uncommon or controversial pictures.
  • Literature, poetry and philosophy: I’m also interested by literature, with Italian novelists of the end of 19th century like Giovanni Verga, English modern and dystopian novels and writers like James Joyce and George Orwell; I also like philosophy and philosophers like Nietzsche…
  • Music: To be inspired and get in the zone, while shooting street photography, I listen to music. I listen to music before shooting, but not while shooting (I like to hear the streets noises instead). I listen to music that motivates me to do greatest things and music that uplift my soul, like rap music and rappers like Eminem.

5. Always take photographs

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Poland 2018

Maybe the best way to be always inspired is to just go out shooting. I just need to walk around and capture everything that interest me and that inspire me. I must just have fun and enjoy the process.

So it’s always better to just click the shutter and take as many photographs as possible, even bad photographs, and take photos of common objects, capturing beauty in the mundane, capturing banal objects on the streets, people doing normal things and everything I find beautiful and interesting.

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