What truly inspires you? And don't travel down the route of other photographers and photography. This is the obvious and easy answer - as photographers we are ALL inspired by other photographers and photography. There are thousands of other disciplines, activities, and hobbies out there that can change the way we see the world. The two things that get my engines roaring (other than a monster mocha) are modern paintings and film. I am not talking about the undisputed classics like Casablanca and Gone with the Wind, I am talking about the likes of The Matrix, The Shawshank Redemption, and Apocalypse Now. Contemporary films that make you think, scare you with the possibilities, or change your perspective on a controversial issue. Now, without putting links/trailers into this post of my favorite full length feature films, I think these Five films about photography, by photographers, and related to photography are absolutely perfect to get you thinking, inspired, and ready to possibly discover another avenue for your work. I promise they are worth using up your lunch hour to watch...
Fukushima Broken Lives
Photojournalist Damir Sagolj created this amazing short simply by interviewing a survivor from the Fukushima disaster, while playing the stills he created for the story as a slide show, and inserting additional related motion clips that further reinforce his concept. It is proof that you do not need thousand dollar sliders, heart pounding music, and more camera motion than the latest Transformers blockbuster to create something that audiences will respond to. We respond to what Damir has created here because we all recognize that any of us could be in the same situation and the conflict becomes how to deal with this tragedy.
Ed Templeton: A Professional Skateboarder Turns Artist
Even though this film is a bit of an advertisement for Leica, you truly make a personal connection with Ed Templeton. You begin to understand a single person's struggle to highlight not only what he sees in this world, but more importantly how he sees it. You get the feeling that not only you, but anyone could approach Ed and strike up a conversation. It is a quiet moment that allows us all to reflect on ourselves as photographers.
Proof: The Photographers on Photography
I referenced some of my favorite quotes from this film in an earlier blog post, but this film covers just about everything that I believe in from a photography perspective. It is similar to the Ed Templeton video above, in that it allows you to get into the mind of some of the greatest photographers out there today, while highlighting some of their amazing photographs.
La Grave: A Skier's Journey
This film hits a very personal note with me. I lived in La Grave for a ski season seventeen years ago and my wife (of only 6 months back then) got really hurt skiing there. It has taken her 3 surgeries to fix all the broken pieces of her body from that accident, so there are some haunting memories in play here. Regardless, this area of France has a beauty and power that commands not only respect, but a visit. The other key to this video is that Jordan Manley is an amazing still photographer too. He has bee a huge inspiration for me for a very long time. His vision has an almost innocent, kid-perspective of the world. When I watch his films and look at his stills I get this feeling that I am seeing something amazingly new and fresh, even if I know exactly where his shot was taken. We all need to strive to discover our planet this very way.
This is what would happen if you took clips from some very classic films that highlighted the profession of photography and put them all together in way that highlighted, well, photographers. It is a great edit that plays on our every move from the "just hold that pose moment" to the sound of the shutter moving in a ton of different camera types. "They weren't after the money, they...they, captured the, nobility of human suffering." - listen for it in the film.
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