Where does inspiration come from for your personal work? For me, it comes not only from the world around me, but also from images I see, particularly in my journeys as a collector. I read voraciously (my house movers can attest to that when they brought 50-odd boxes of books up two flights of stairs), I collect vintage anonymous vernacular work, I go to openings, and I consume as much visual media as I can.

I was looking around for additional pieces to add to my collection of Tom Thumb images when I came across this little gem –


And by little I do mean little – it’s 3 x 2 1/2 inches, smaller than a carte-de-visite. I was fascinated by the brilliance of the composition – even though this was most likely taken with a little box camera using 127 size film. The photographer posed the subject in such a way as to achieve near perfect symmetry of the subject’s form, contrasting with the dynamic sweep of the backdrop fabric. The style and lighting reminded me of the modern work of a photographer I admire – Reuven Afanador.

Reuven Afanador - Sombra - Ballet Dancer

Reuven’s work has a very ‘vintage’ feel to it, and this body of images is highly reminiscent of 19th century wet-plate work.

Finding this little photo of the bodybuilder inspired me to shoot a new series working with the same kind of backdrop and lighting. Ideally with a daylight studio, but I’ll take what I can find right now as I’m studio-less.

One thought on “Inspiration”

  1. I’m of the same mind. I’m inspired by reading and looking. Great to be reminded that I’m not alone in the journey.

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