A few months ago, I fell in love with a photography project a few of my friends were participating in called “From The Masters”. Each month they select one “master” photographer, study his or her work intently, and then shoot inspired by that master photographer for the month. Genius and inspiring. To me, it was the perfect antidote to staying inside one’s comfort zone and remedy for continued growth and inspiration. I needed THAT. Lately, I’ve felt I needed a big push, something more…something to challenge me. I fell in love with this project as I watched a handful of my photographer friends produce work the last few months that made me weak at the knees…images that felt WORKED for. I was incredibly honored and excited when they asked me to participate in their group. I guess I gushed enough to make them open the door to me and I am so grateful. It is just what I needed to feel inspired again and challenge myself in my personal work.
This month, we studied the master photographer, William Eggleston. Eggleston was a master of photographing the obvious while demonstrating a very keen awareness of composition and color theory. His work focuses on the vivid beauty and complexity of the mundane world. He gives equal value to the vernacular as one would give a beautiful landscape. His photographs are meticulously controlled and often, he took one shot of a frame after studying a scene and moved on. As I shot this past month with Eggleston in mind, I realized how incredibly difficult it is to photograph the mundane beautifully. He makes it look so easy and honestly, I have a looooong way to go to making a lightbulb look good. I fumbled a lot, but in the end, decided to focus on color and composition while walking about the streets of Cleveland. I also pulled a few from my archives that I felt aligned with Eggleston’s characteristics. If you want to learn more about Eggleston’s work, this is a good link.
Here are a handful of my shots inspired by William Eggleston. Here’s what I learned about myself shooting inspired by Eggelston. I’m not capable of it, yet. It’s incredibly difficult for me to photograph the vernacular. It takes the art of seeing to a different level to shoot like him. He’s insanely gifted seeing the “beautiful ugly”. His use of color and eye for it is INSANE. But, here’s the thing. Now I want to. I realized and recognized this is a serious skill. A really, really serious and beautiful skill and I’m bound and determined to continue working on it, not just outside my home, but inside. I’m not particularly proud of these photographs to be honest, but that wasn’t the point of this exercise. The process, not the end point, is what I valued most about this assignment. The point is, I learned something new and pushed outside my comfort zone. I’m really thankful for that. After taking a peek at my images, continue viewing our project by heading on over to the talented Kari Wattenbarger by clicking HERE and see how she was inspired by Eggleston.