Finding Photographic Inspiration on the World Wide Web
I love blogs. While sometimes considered “a Wild West of content”, there are some truly original sites and wonderful images out there. One of the newest blogs I happened upon is http://natgeofound.tumblr.com/. This site went up only a few weeks ago, but is already publishing some amazing photos from the National Geographic Society. I was lucky enough to find it through a tweet from @NatGeoPhotos / @JannaBird. If you find this site fun, you may also want to check out the NY Times site http://livelymorgue.tumblr.com/ for more great photos from the vaults of a celebrated journalistic giant.
But back to the National Geographic site… I saw this picture of a lion trainer carrying a lion on his shoulders. It reminded me of my studio days when the Russian Circus came to town and I was tasked with photographing some of the performers and animals. Circus folk are some of the most interesting people I have ever met. The fact that I spoke no Russian did not diminish the fun we had at all. Ironically, the photographer was an ex-military intelligence agent and spoke fluent Russian from his days decoding communications during the cold war.
The thing that sticks out the most about that photo session is the trained bear. Now, I’ve had the chance to photograph lots of domestic animals, but that was my first and last bear. The trainer was no taller than 5 ½ feet, and when he had the bear stand up on his hind legs, the bear TOWERED over him. To say I was nervous is an understatement! This was a full-grown black bear and I am sure, by the look in her eyes, she would have loved to have us for lunch. Since I was assisting on the shoot, I was moving lights and setting up backgrounds while the photographer strategically kept the rolling camera pod between himself and the bear. The session went fine and we got some amazing shots, without getting turned into an afternoon snack.
Along with Tumblr, there are many other interesting blogs that can provide wonderful inspiration and may even make you think about issues other than your photography. Tony Fouhse, a Canadian Fotog, has a great blog with a good mix of social commentary and photography, http://tonyfoto.com/drool/
An hour or two spent following links can open a worldwide collection of photographs, photographer’s opinions about their art, and social opinions, some varnished some unvarnished, and all certainly interesting and thought provoking. A few more blogs I frequent are:
Go ahead and give these links a try, and see where they take you, then get out there and make some photographs!