Inspiration in Isolation

Hi guys,


What a strange time we're living in. This virus is creating so much uncertainty and changing so much of what our lives look like, at least in the short term. Maybe the long-term too, who knows. Maybe we’ll end up with more home working, more flexibility, maybe more health precautions too and hopefully more knowledge on how to cope with a pandemic like this.


It’s tough to feel stuck inside. Most of us can still go out, but are maybe more wary and we’re probably avoiding interacting in the same way we might normally.


There’s plenty we can do keep learning though, to keep ‘doing photography’ and getting better at it. So I thought I’d share some ideas and resources that might help.


Editing

Brooks Jensen at Lenswork said that if he didn’t shoot another frame he’d still have plenty in his archive to keep him busy for years. I suspect that’s true for most of us, that there are images that we’ve haven’t paid much attention to, or could benefit from re-editing. Maybe we need to review and update our portfolio. For me, I’ve been working through my archive adding text files to give some brief explanation and documentation to each set of images. It’s taking a lot of time but I feel like it’s something I need to do, and then maintain as a I add new work.


Documentaries

There are many excellent photography movies and documentaries to check out, such as Everybody Street, Finding Vivian Maier, Bill Cunningham - New York and Harry Benson: Shoot First.


Podcasts

I love a good podcast, especially while I’m traveling or walking somewhere. There are far to many to list but here are a few of my current favorites:

A Small Voice (Ben Smith)

The B&H Podcast

The Fujicast (Neale James, Kevin Mullins)


YouTube

Again, so many options. Try Zack Arias, Sean Tucker or Denae & Andrew.


Training

For training there are a ton of good courses in Coursera, Lynda, Skillshare, Udemy and CreativeLive, but I’m tempted to take a look at the Alec Soth course on Magnum.


Photo Projects

Ok, all those are good, but keep taking photos too. Your family or friends, if you’re not living alone. Or self portraits. Or still life. Experiment with lighting. If you’re feeling fearful or frustrated, try showing something that could represent that or convey the same mood. Document what you’re feeling or experiencing.


Having said all that, I do think there’s a risk that we get too insular, even more wrapped in our own concerns. Social Media gives us a great tool to reach out and connect with people, not just put out our own thoughts and content. Maybe it’s a chance to revisit how we use it.


Whatever you do, I hope you’re able to find opportunity in the changes and peace in the midst of the stress and uncertainty.




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Headshot, portrait, street and documentary photographer in NYC and Jersey City

alastair.arthur@gmail.com

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