Category Archives: Inspire in 300
Photography is in my blood. It started with my grandfather, to my father and now me. I am fortunate to also have my grandfather’s Nikon F which he treated like a child, so it’s in pristine condition. I am still have my father’s Fujica AZ-1, which was my first camera.
I believe art is more than just learned. I think it is born with you and the actions you take in life determine the direction your artwork goes.
When I was younger, I did not photograph the world as much as I do now. In fact, during high school I brought a camera with me only when necessary I started my college career at Berklee College of Music with the intention of going into the music recording business. After realizing the music industry wasn’t for me, I changed majors and continues my college career with a photography focus.
In college, I learned so much from inspiring professors and mentors. I learned about Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander and so many other amazing photographers. Each of them are inspirational in one way or another.
Since college, I continue finding my inspiration through other photographers, but at the same time throughout life in general. I am constantly inspired by people with care, whether they’re in the photography industry or not. People like Ellen DeGeneres, who is 100% about kindness. People like Jason Mraz, who is 100% about spreading love through music.
People like these, and all the photography friends I made during my time at school, through freelance work, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. You all inspire me with amazing photographs.
Most of all, I am inspired by the my father, who I wish was still with me to see how far I have come with the art. I live my life, and take my photographs with the though that he is watching and proud – and I know he is.
So what inspires you?
My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and I am a photographer.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,
Read more about photography education in my eBook, Absorbing Light.
I can remember the day that I became fascinated with severe weather and more specifically thunderstorms like it was yesterday. I was seven years old and lived in a small town in Idaho where thunderstorms were rare, but always intense when they did happen. It was during one of those intense storms that I was watching out or dining room window and saw a house about half a mile away get struck by lightning. The shower of blue sparks contrasted against the bright white of the lightning bolt was something I will never forget.
Fast forward a few years to when I started getting interested in photography and it was only natural that I would teach myself how to capture lightning with a camera, but as a young kid with a very limited budget for film and processing, plus parents that objected to my going outside during severe thunderstorms, my efforts were limited to shooting out of those same windows that I witnessed that strike years earlier.
My real passion for severe weather photography was sparked after I joined the USAF and was stationed in Illinois for training. This was the first time that I experienced the sheer power that is a tornado. The skies that day were simply magical to look at and associated storm was nothing like I had ever experienced before. Long before I had ever heard the term “storm chaser” I had sort of become one.
To this day, many years after witnessing that lightning strike as a child, thunderstorms are still very special to me. Their power and beauty are like nothing else. A lightning strike only last for a fleeting moment and will never happen the same way again, each bolt truly is a once in a lifetime event. Being able to capture that by pressing the shutter release of my camera makes all the countless miles and hours chasing those storms truly worthwhile.
My name is Scott Wood and I make images.
I can admit that I never grew up. I still play with LEGO’s, I collect Kidrobot and Funco figures, and Toys-R-Us is still my favorite place to shop. Travelling means picking out a handful of figures to bring along with me and then figuring out how and where to use them in my travels. I photograph toys and it makes me happy with every click of the shutter.
For me, toys bring on a life of their own thanks to my own childhood memories and the current pop culture. I see this life whenever I hang my art at a show and a parent and child laugh as they look at it. These smiles and giggles are what fuel me to keep going, to push my work in new directions, and to strive harder at creating more unique scenes.
There is a unique challenge in bringing life to an inanimate object. A LEGO Minifig is just some plastic parts, but put together and they make something we can associate with in real-life. It is playing off this recognition and using life experiences that make this so much fun. Sure, I may not be shooting epic sunsets or going crazy with portraits, but I can make a kid laugh when they are having a crappy day. That, as many parents can attest to, is both magical and contagious.
Take time out of your hectic life to embrace that little child inside you. We spend our young years yearning to be adults and then our adult years remembering the great times we had as a kid. Laughter is good for everyone. As longs as I can help make people smile, I will continue to do what I enjoy: photographing toys!
My fascination with airplanes started when I was a child. I loved to look at pictures of aircraft in books and magazines. I would run out of the house if I heard a plane flying by just to catch a glimpse. I still do this today. I shot my first aviation photo in the mid-80s at a Memorial Day parade with my new SLR camera and kit lens. A military flyover kicked off the parade and I snapped a picture of the C-130 as it flew over. I thought that picture was the coolest thing and had my little speck of an airplane enlarged to 8×10 and hung it on my bedroom wall.
Being just a kid, I had much to explore besides airplanes. I still loved airplanes, but it wasn’t until many years later that the aviation photography bug bit again. It was the summer of 2009 when I decided to shoot my first air show and I have been hooked ever since.
Why am I hooked? For me photographing aircraft allows me to be a kid again. That’s only one part though; I also love the challenge of capturing moments in time and making them visually extraordinary. Anyone with a DSLR and a zoom lens can take a photo of an airplane or any subject. I want my pictures to be different, stunning and stand out from the crowd. I want the viewer of my work to feel as though they are standing next to me as I take the photo and that we are experiencing the same sights, sounds and smells.
Each spring my excitement builds for the upcoming air show season, an opportunity to capture new aircraft, new air shows, new moments in time and best of all to be a kid again.
Photography is one of the most important parts of my life. It has been for as long as I have been sorta conscious (early teens – can’t remember farther than that… hehe). I love the still image, and can look at photographs to find almost any emotion that exists.
Color, shade, line, shape and design are the tools that photographers use to make images, but the ones I am drawn to are the ones that convey an energy or emotion to me. It is paramount to my endeavors in the medium. I find design in nature and urban juxtapositions that fascinate me, and I capture it to make it a lasting piece of memory. That the image also causes someone else to ‘remember’ something within themselves, to discover something within the image that moves them, is a great joy to me.
However, it is the ability of photography to freeze a moment in time, to hold that moment in a way that presents it as something we recognize, feel, and relate to, that is the strongest part of the art to me. Painters can paint incredible art over whatever time period it takes them. Music must be heard contemporaneously, as does the enjoyment of dance.
But photography takes a split second of life (1/100th or 1/250th of a second) and holds it for us to see again and again. We can alter the image that come from the camera in a myriad of ways, but we cannot change that moment in time when it was made. That singular split second of time, captured and held… that is amazing and humbling as an artist.
People ask me why I photograph and my answer is always “Because I must.” The essence of life is our time spent here, and the essence of photography is the moment in time we capture. Forever.
When I think about photography, I don’t think just about “images of stuff”. Sure, that’s the basic concept… but what is it really? The answer is entirely subjective and differs for all of us. For me, photography gives me the creative outlet I need to tell my story; to offer a perspective on our incredible world that is entirely my own.
I don’t consider myself a gifted writer. That is to say, I’ll never win a Pulitzer or publish an award-winning novel. But I do still yearn to show others how I see the world. Through photography, I am able to say what my words cannot. In a split second (or in some cases, many many seconds) I can convey exactly what would take an author paragraphs.
I think that for most photographers out there (myself included) we shoot photographs because we just love to do so. We are all of us visual people who find joy photographing the colours in a rainbow or the gritty back alleys. We find happiness in delivering a message not via printed media but through a combination of pixels on screen or through film – we use an image to tell our story… not printed word.
For me, I use images from my mind’s eye – be they from past memories or something I’ve conjured up – as well as my own life experiences as a source of inspiration. It’s these images, entirely my own, that I use to chase down a vision of a perspective; to chase down how I want to portray a part of our world. The thing is though – it doesn’t stop there. The narrative, the story, the words; they’re all just as important as the image. One leads the other and they play off one another to form the complete story.
I’m motivated by travelling the world. I’m motivated by the chance that I’ll get to take a moment in time that made me say, “Wow!” in the hope that I can make others feel the same. I’m motivated by the fact that images can call people to action because of a simple feeling evoked by a photograph.
My name is Jacob F. Lucas, and this is my story.
Inspiration comes from many sources, like looking at others people’s amazing work or a beautiful sunrise on an amazing landscape, but if I had to pick one thing that makes my blood flow it would be my son, Sammy. Documenting his early years is one of the reasons photography became my passion. Kids like Sam do not hide their emotions or expressions and, even in a span of just a few minutes, they can change many times. From pure joy to total disappointment, his expressions and emotions pull me in, both emotionally and creatively. Capturing that one moment where you can feel what he feels is totally exhilarating and makes me want more.
There’s a utility to it as well. He was born after our move to Minnesota in 2006 with our closest family being 800+ miles away, so we might only see them a couple of times a year. At Sam’s age, things change amazingly fast. Catching that special moment and sharing it electronically allows family and friends to experience what he’s going through and who he is becoming without having to be there. Just the other day, my brother commented that the picture below of Sammy running was the only one he’d seen where he saw me in him. That’s inspiration!
It’s getting harder and harder for me to get pictures of him because he’s pretty tired of dad sticking that camera in his face, but that only fuels the fire by making it more of a challenge. Fortunately, his excitement to play on the slip and slide, or play squirt guns with the neighbor kids is much greater than the aggravation of getting his picture taken, and this excitement becomes the inspiration for me to do it! These moments are a bit less frequent than a year or two ago, but they’re still there and they still grab my heart and inspire me to press the shutter!
What’s the most important thing to me in photography? Simple: Family. From a young age my parents instilled in me the importance of family. It’s the little things in life that do this: eating meals with my family every day, showing up at every family event and making time for our family.
This didn’t result in any sappy, family love situation – it simply resulted in a self-confidence that we had each others’ back. In my photography it also didn’t result in any sappy, huggy-kissy photography. It resulted in a heightened sense of responsibility. When I shoot a wedding or portrait, I know that the most important people are not the people in the photos, but the aunts, uncles, parents, children, grand-children and great-grand-children (whether they are born yet, or not).
Photography is for family. It’s to preserve the moments that create a family story. Some of my favorite photos in our house are those of my grand-parents and my parents when they were younger. Being able to see them when they were just married tells part of our story. We can see our own features – in their eyes, facial structure, smiles… These preserved moments tell our own story – our past and our future.
These family stories are the most important part of my photography. When I shoot a family or wedding, the story trumps the shot. What I mean by this is that I don’t go for “the shot,” the one shot that will be the huge canvas on the wall. Sure, if I get that, it’s a bonus. I go for the story. The great shots with the supporting shots. I shoot for the album, whether it be a wedding or portrait album. These albums are what will be around in 100 to 150 years.
This is what photography means to me, this is what motivates me. The responsibility to our past and our future.
Andrew “Fundy” Funderburg
CEO and Founder of Fundy Software