Black and White Challenge - I've been challenged by the talented @brianreda to post a B&W photo for five days - but I get to nominate a person each day to do the same.
B&W Challenge Day 2: One of my first lessons for my basic film students is to not emulate the photographers you admire - but to be inspired by them - and from hundreds of inspiring works and dozens of talented artists, you begin to build your own way of looking at the world around you.
In part, going to Taos' iconic church was a bit of a rite of passage. Countless photographers have been inspired by its dynamic shadows, unique abstract shapes and distinctive texture. Driving the extra 140 mile round trip during a "lunch break", I couldn't stop thinking that I couldn't bring anything new to what had already been done. I'd be merely copying what others had already photographed. I'd break my own rules.
The trip, however, didn't end up about making work for myself - it was about being inspired by the "new" - the "different" - the same muses that the greats had pulled inspiration from years before. Standing in the presence of such a humble church, I realized that something I knew to be true about so much of my own work applied here as well: the journey, more often than not, outweighs the photograph. Anyone that's seen me talk about my work knows how much I talk about the journey it took to take that single shot - it's the true mark of pride when it comes to my work.
So... there I was: standing in front of Taos Church with the most God-awful mid-afternoon light. This was my only chance to photograph it. I was exhausted, jet-lagged and barely breathing in the 7000ft elevation. Heck, I had just driven 70 miles just to photograph this church is terrible lighting - and had another 70 miles in front of me. None of this made sense. I had to make the best of it - but moreover: I had to soak in what was there - the essence of the place and those that had come before me. Take in the inspiration and instill that in the picture, no matter how typical the capture may be.
Today, I nominate @phillygoat - I know that he's the proud papa of a beautiful baby, but I'm certain that him escaping the cold clutches of Alaska earlier this year has provided him with some photographic inspiration. Share what you got, Phil!