Consuming great photography inspires me to tell better stories, to pursue more interesting angles and to rethink my own work. For this reason, I wanted to start a new series of posts looking at my favourite work, new work I’ve discovered or other inspiring content. Some will be classic work and some more contemporary and it won’t just be travel photography.
I find most of my inspiration these days comes from documentary photography, and I think many of us would create more powerful work by learning the lessons of photographers who strive to go deeper and avoid the easy subjects. I hope you find some inspiration from the work below, in the same way that I have done.
Satellites – Jonas Bendiksen
Between 1998 and 2005 Bendiksen travelled through the fringes of the former Soviet empire, many of the places he shot are those that I hope to explore in the coming months and years. I’ve been drawn to the ex-soviet states in E.Europe and Central Asia. I think it’s an area that still holds lots of potential for incredible stories.
Satellites is a body of work that I keep coming back to nearly every day, it’s one of the best looking at the downfall of communism and the use of colour and composition to aid his storytelling is second to none.
Eman Mohammed: The Courage to Tell a Hidden Story
Eman Mohammed’s story is one of courage, bravery and breaking down societal barriers. She was the first female journalist in Gaza, starting her career at 19, in a society where women were not expected to do the work of men. She overcame death threats and much more, to tell the stories she wanted to tell. It’s only a short 6 min video, but if you’ve ever created your own excuses for not starting a project, listen to Eman’s courage and the things she fought through, and most excuses become pretty menial.
Odra – Mikolaj Nowacki
Mikolaj is a friend and fellow Panasonic Lumix Ambassador. He’s one of the most talented and humble photographers I know. His project documenting the Odra river that runs through his hometown of Wroclaw has been a work in progress for over 7 years.
As a photographer that struggles with motivation for long-term projects, his enthusiasm and dedication to one subject is something that continually inspires me. His work is a masterclass in composition and using light/motion to convey feeling and emotion. I find it funny how some photographers can obsess over sharpness whilst others use blur and motion to create more emotion in a single frame than can be found in most people’s entire ‘sharp’ body of work.
Notes For An Epilogue – Tamas Dezso
I really respect Tamas Dezso work for a number of reasons. Romania is a country that is close to my heart, it’s one I keep coming back to, time after time, and so the project interests me on a personal level. I’m also considering how to create my own long-term project here in the UK, documenting the changes that I see going on around me. The fact that Dezso’s work is solely based in his home of Hungary and neighbouring countries is worth commending. I think it’s all too easy sometimes to find the beauty in the exotica but miss the uniqueness of home. If you enjoy Notes For an Epilogue, also check out Here, Anywhere.
Behind The Curtains – Tomas van Houtryve
The last piece of work that I want to share is Behind The Curtains by Tomas van Houtryve. I think this work continues the themes of this post of both long-term projects and also the impact of Communism. Over the course of seven years, Tomas explored, with extraordinary access the countries of North Korea, Cuba, China, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos and Moldova. In the video above he discusses the project, the images and also his experience of discovering a secretive world of revolutionaries, spies, opposition fighters and ordinary workers.