On Inspiration in the World of Photography Or...Why You Should Shut the F*ck Up About It

October 15, 2016  •  2 Comments

I think of Hugh Glass. Being there, crawling two hundred miles with a severed scalp hanging from his head. Tasting his own blood. The wounds from the sow grizzly oozing puss. His body broken. Virtually no hope of seeing another sunrise or anything else for that matter. If something kept the man going, I wonder what it truly might have been. Was he inspired by revenge? By the love that clings to our own lives? or by something else? Maybe there was this one whore in Deadwood that smelled really nice? The question was posed to me recently as to what "inspires" me to make "great" photographs and to that end what makes me "use" all these quotation "marks". While I can't prescribe to any real reason as to why I choose to pluck two commas out of a sentence and place them on either end of a sarcastic expletive on the top end...together no less, I do know a little bit about what drives a man to do things. 

Truly, I've found myself facing the wrong end of a mountain lion. And I've been too close for comfort to more than one bear. I can talk about these things on end. But as far as what causes my photographs to come into being I find myself so far at a loss. If I find myself at all....

What appears to me to be the most likely, however, is that I made the photographs regardless of any encumberment. I put myself out there with a camera with the mountain lions and the bears. Now, I've managed to make it thus far with my scalp and the scarce amount of hair attached to it but that isn't what's important here. What's important is that the action found itself fit to be made and I rose to what I saw to be the action. I don't carry many thoughts of inspiration save that which I find in myself. In my own action is the only place to which I look to find any sort of inspiration. Be influenced and driven by the work of others and strive to conquer your own inhibitions through the hard won battles of forlorn heros. But don't look to your heros to hold your trembling hand. 

"Inspiration"(remember they are merely high commas) is the most bullshitted excuse they ever made in order make it alright to copy someone. To make your work seem to be acceptable to others. This is wrong. The most acceptable work you'll ever fucking produce is the work that makes you feel liberated. Notice I didn't say satisfied. I've never been satisfied with any photo I've ever made...nor ever will make. That is my inspiration. That is my Hugh Glass. Don't stop even though you might be crawling with a bleeding scalp and broken body. Never stop. If it suits you then make photographs until the mountain lion takes you. And fuck the bears. 


Exactly! Well stated, I really enjoyed this piece. Thank You
Karla Porter(non-registered)
This is one of the best pieces I've read and how to view photography. I have always been afraid to follow my passion for photography due to the fact that someone one else may not approve. After reading this I can no seethings in a different way. Thank you for the brutal honesty and great read.
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