My Inspiration

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    While I am always keeping my eyes open to new and intriguing photographs, I have to be completely honest in that I have not necessarily paid particular attention to the actual photographers who’ve taken the images. While challenging, I also found this particular assignment inspiring as I enjoyed looking for themes and trends throughout various photographers’ work.

    Famous photographer Jay Maisel started his career in 1954 after completing a painting and graphic design degree. Maisel has more recently (as of the late 1990’s) shifted his focus to his personal work, combined with teaching about photography and selling his prints. Maisel’s focus on lines, shapes and objects inspires me to look beyond what we see within “typical” objects, or even people, and capture photos that allow inanimate objects to speak and un-staged portraits to show raw emotion.

    The theme of Maisel’s photography that most captured my attention is his focus on shapes, lines and taking a vision of something seemingly “boring” and photographing it in a meaningful way that portrays emotion. Given the photos are of mainly inanimate objects, occasionally with a non-posed person in the photo, the emotion portrayed likely varies depending upon the viewers experiences and personality, but that is precisely what I find so intriguing. Each photo encourages the viewer to have their own experience and interaction with it based on their individual experience. This theme within Maisel’s work allowed me to connect greatly to the images he produced. In addition, when photographing images, Maisel uses lines to “frame” important images in his photos which I find visually pleasing. I find it helps me focus on the true emotion Maisel is trying to create in his work. My dream is to decorate my home with photographs in each room with objects and/or places important to me that connects to the room. (ex. Photographs of favorite foods/kitchen items/restaurants in the dining room) Viewing Maisel’s work provides me with inspiration to pursue this dream and also continue this passion through photographing inanimate objects that are important to others for them to display in their homes.

    Two of Maisel’s photographs, the “Groundskeeper” and “French Bathroom” both provide significant inspiration to me. On the surface, the “Groundskeeper” photograph appeals to me as I am an avid sports fan so I can appreciate the emotion of the groundskeeper in this photo putting time into and taking pride in his work on the field. However, digging deeper into this photo, the use of vivid lines, along with a bit of asymmetry (the groundskeeper to the left of the photo), creates a visually pleasing and calming effect when I look at this photograph. The photograph of the “French Bathroom” also provides inspiration for me. Again, on the surface this is a great idea and image to fulfill my dream of photographs that “match” the room in the house. However, more importantly, while the image still has a focus on lines and shapes, (the door, the drying rack, the robe neatly hung), it has an equal focus on taking inanimate objects and making them appear with emotions. I truly feel the peace and comfort that one may find if actually in a “French bathroom” on vacation. Likewise, in this photo, it demonstrates a bit of the use of “framing” that I find appealing in Maisel’s photos. The trim around the door seems to frame the robe and drying rack, which are both captured eloquently and instantly provide a relaxing and calming effect for me.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hi there,

    Thank you for your assignment. This is one of the few assignments where there is nothing for me to suggest photography wise. To be honest I am not familiar with the work of this photographer. 😳

    Although I had seen his work before. For example he shot this album cover:

    [attachment=0:9xmqx3qq]Jay Maisel Miles Davis Kind of Blue.jpeg[/attachment:9xmqx3qq]

    I think almost everyone has seen that album cover. This assignment is really designed to get you thinking more than it is to get a critique. You’ve gone and found someone who inspires you and hopefully it has helped.

    Here is more on Jay Maisel:

    Thank you so much for teaching me about him!

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