Who's in the Driver's Seat: The Secret of My "Inspiration"

I get asked a lot about where some of my personal images come from. Sort of a what-inspires-you type question, but the truth is, that's a really hard question to answer.

I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly great on my feet when it comes to speaking. There are a lot of "um"s and "uh"s and a whole lot of excessive words that don't actually say anything new (just the same thing over and over again, and never very well). I do better when I can sit and think through what I'm trying to say (sooooo much better). So explaining my thought process on the spot, even to the people I'm working with on the shoot, is clunky at best. These images I create mean so much to me, the express so much for me, fulfill so much for me, but it's so hard to talk about that. Not because I don't want to, but because my speaking skills are about what you'd expect for an secret introvert.

So. I'm attempting to answer this often-asked questions here. Where I can write it out and try to state it a little more clearly. Maybe. Here it goes:

Probably the biggest inspiration for me is the moments I'm carrying around with me. I might be in the midst of a very happy and exciting time, but I'm carrying around something that stuck with me, some confusion or pain or hurt, and the personal imagery I create takes on a darker tone. Or perhaps the walls are crumbling around me, but I'm clinging (desperately sometimes) to some sliver of hope or silver lining, and so my imagery is peppered with life. More often than not, I feel drawn to movement. And I think it's because some of my greatest fears are that things will stand still. 

I know I've said it before, maybe here on my blog, maybe on my instagram, or maybe just to people in person, but I'm one of those kinds of people that loves change. I absolutely thrive on it. Stagnation is terrifying to me, change is exhilarating! So I feel myself magnetized by motion and movement and capturing a tiny nano-second of time that not only can't be replicated, but can't be captured again. It's one of the things I love best about my underwater work - no two images are the same and there is no replicating a shot. The water will always keep moving, the fabric will never move that way again. 

Sometimes my personal art shoots are all of the above: life, darkness, movement, imagination, fear, hope... Sometimes I opt to comment on things more directly (like my soon-to-be released "Property Of Society" art series, one of an ongoing set of commentary pieces), sometimes in much more subtle ways. Sometimes I literally create in darkness (like with my Lightpainted Portraits, which are created in pitch blackness). But always it is from a place of emotion that drives the images created. 

I rarely set out to create a specific image in my mind. Sometimes, but that's truly rare. The emotions are in the driver's seat. My goal is to tap into those and see where they take me and my camera. I rely on my gut, my intuition, my gumption to capture what my mind and my heart is somehow trying to voice. It's therapeutic actually. 

What about you? What drives you? When you do something just for you (however that is expressed), what is your go-to? What leads that expression for you? I'm fascinated by the processes we all have, all so individual, so feel free to get bravely vulnerable in the comments below! 

Brienne ShepardComment