I’m back! It’s been a month since my last post, a long time… I’ve been taking a long relaxing vacation back in Italy with my family and friends… I needed it! I’ve done the things that you always do when you are home, but this time I’ve really enjoyed every single moment of it. Living far away makes you aware of what is important for you, and makes you aware of what are your needs in life.
Speaking of which, also inspiration is what makes you strive to be something different, to be better in what you do and what you love. And you can only achieve that by looking around you, seeing what other people do or have done in the past. In my history of photography class my teacher Christopher Broughton (who is an amazing photographer as well as an amazingly passionate teacher. Check his works out!) has been telling us a story about this. He was reviewing one of his student’s portfolio of cloud pictures and he pointed out: “I like this pictures, they remind me of the works that Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams did”. And the student was literally falling from the sky:”You mean somebody else did this before?”
The problem is not whether you are doing something that has already been done in the past or not (everything has been done already! In fact, in my opinion nothing is new). The thing is: you have to be aware of what people have done in the past, “because you will be compared to them”, Chris continues. And knowing it will only make you aware of what you like and what you want. Your taste will lead you to become the person (the photographer) that you want to be.
I’m pretty sure that the photographer David Lachapelle knew the works of a mid 19th century photographer, Orcar Gustave Rejlander, and his amazing allegoric picture Two ways of life (below)
As I’m pretty sure that Oscar Gustave Rejlander was inspired and knew the work of the italian painter Raphael and his famous painting The school of Athens (below)
This is why last week I went with some friends at Photo LA, an amazing collection of galleries from all Los Angeles displaying prints of Henry Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus or Sebastian Salgado, as well as many and many other amazing photographers. After that show, you really feel inspired and you just want to prove to yourself that you can be in a gallery like that, one day… And you can take from them so many ideas, just by seeing what is that makes you stop in front of a picture as well as seeing what is not making you stop, to understand what is missing. This is what “knowing what others do” is all about: is knowing what YOU want to do.
After Photo LA I started shooting right away… But this is a new story…