National Geographic…my biggest inspiration

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    Who is my favorite photographer? Now that´s a really tricky question. As a Swede, one photographer that comes to mind is Lennart Nilsson. His photos of the human body is truly amazing . Mr Nilsson is truly a great photographer, but I honestly can´t say that he´s my biggest inspiration. In fact, I can´t name a single person that I like the most. Instead, my greatest inspiration to photography is National Geographic. In my opinion, a photo of a green lizard in Borneo can be as beautiful as a photo of a crying woman in Iraq, or a misty morning in Finland, or a photo of a bicycle in Paris. National Geographic combines all of this and so much more.

    As I´m in the beginning of my career as a photographer I have not yet found my personal niche. I can spend hours looking at photos at and I find most of the photos amazing. I believe this ambivalence approach to photography can be both a strength and a weakness. The good part is that I have a open mind to all sorts of photography, the bad part however is that it can be difficult to become an expert in one field when ones mind is divided into many different interests.

    If I have to pick one image that have really affected me it would be the image taken by Steve McCurry called Afghan girl. The image was on the cover of NatGeo in 1985 and it´s a true master piece. I thought about exactly WHAT it is that makes it a master piece and my conclusion is that the best part of the image is the ”mood” that the photographer has captured. The image is telling us so many things and you can almost feel what the young woman is thinking.

    Catching the ”mood” (can´t find a better word for it) is something I really would like to learn and develop. It doesn’t matter if it´s a portrait or a landscape, catching the ”mood” i what makes a photo great, and just not good. When I look at photos in NatGeo-magazine many of the photographers are very good at this.

    One area of photography that I would like to improve on is photographing people. By that I don´t mean straight portraits in a studio but every day moments. As a theme, ”people” can be many things. Combining good lightning, composition and technical knowledge with the ability to catch the ”mood” when shooting people makes, in my opinion, great photos…and THAT´S what I want to learn.

    Duncan Rawlinson


    Thank you for sharing this with us. I generally find the word “moment” more helpful than “mood”. I feel like “mood” is part of a moment. Photography, like film, is a visual story telling medium. Within a “moment” a Photographer or Director of Photography needs to consider many things which make up a moment.

    Tonal qualities
    Lens choice

    It’s all of these things together which come together to create a “moment”. That’s how I see it anyway. It helps me deconstruct my thought process and other photographers work as well.

    Best of luck continuing with the course!


    I agree…”moment” is a far better word.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Duncan Rawlinson


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