"Stay Inspired" is a weekly post on my Facebook Page where I share the work of an inspirational photographer or artist every Thursday. I've been doing this every week since 2013 so there is now a vast number of outstanding creatives from all genres and disciplines that we've looked at over the years. In fact, I’ve been sharing these for so long now that even I have forgotten some of these great artists I share at the beginning. Because so many of these have been lost to time, I thought why don't I try and collate them all into one place for not only myself, but for you as well.
This is the sixth compilation, so if you missed the previous ones and are interested in an inspiration overload, here’s the links to them;
These new posts will look at a collection of 10 artists each and they should prove to be an excellent resource for not only inspiration but motivation as well. With each artist shared, I will include a short overview of their work including things to consider and look at whilst on their portfolio.
Please bear in mind that these opinions are mine and as such are clearly very subjective. I could just share a link but I believe a more personal point of view of another artists’ work may be of more value to you over simply stating their name and age for example. But this does mean you may not always agree with me and I would encourage that. Art is subjective and like music, the best art does not appeal to everybody.
Inspirational Work from 10 Photographers and Artists 007
Prepare to be crushed.
This evening we visit Milan and meet the amazing work of 21 year old fashion photographer Daria Zaytseva. Thats right I said 21. Daria's work is very polished and focuses primarily on the beauty and stunning lines of her models. A lot of her work is colour toned beautifully and the palettes have a velvety feel to them, imagine Amanda Diaz's work but less fairytale and more sensual.
Be sure to see what this young photographic prodigy is up to as she will certainly be one to watch in the coming years.
Edit Aug 2019: Although I first shared Daria’s work many years ago now, I’m very pleased to say that she’s still shooting incredible work today. Her current website is more of a blog but as you scroll down you’ll be met with stunning image after stunning image.
You may have heard of other photographers referring to a somewhat arbitrary term called 'clean lighting'. If you are still unclear as to what that actually looks like then take a look at one of fashion photography's biggest hitters, Chris Nicholls. Although a lot of the his work is shot on location, he appears to use a lot of supplemental lighting to make each and every image perfect. If you want to get your work in the big name ‘glossies’ then you really need to get your lighting to look like this as they are all over this style at the moment.
On first impression his images might not look too tricky, but I guarantee that's the skill staring right back at you. It's very difficult indeed to get shots to look like they haven't had additional strobes or with multiple light sources creating ugly shadows.
His site is massive and although the opening page just shows a few teaser shots there is a slightly hidden section to the right that opens up the genres he shoots as well as an amazing archive of his past work.
If you're interested in the slightly more commercial side of fashion editorial then definitely check him out.
Normally I like to share an individual photographers work, but tonight I wanted to highlight a media production company called ‘Zeduce’. Many thanks to J. Tuliniemi Photography for sharing their work with me. Although they haven't done any ground-breaking projects, the reason I wanted to showcase their work was because its really very creative. They have some awesome shots that have been orchestrated with what appears like a multitude of mirrors and the effect looks amazing. It also looks like some of the photographers they've used shoot with a lot of gels and also shoot through giant crystals!
What’s not to love?
Many years ago photographic agencies were nearly the only way a professional photographer could sustain a commercial career. The agencies had all the contacts and the clients knew they were a one stop shop for guaranteed results. By todays standards, agencies were perceived as an expensive way to achieve those same results. After all it’s not hard to find a great photographer yourself online these days and I don’t think you can blame agencies for overcharging. I just feel that it’s todays market that has cheapened the work, not that agencies ripping off clients in the past.
I personally never went down the route of being agency represented myself, but that's not to say I don't respect what they do and it's still an idea I entertain from time to time.
My point this evening though, is that agencies like individual photographers, have a style. If you find a photographers work you like, see if you can track down their agency as you’re sure to find many more photographers on their books within that same niche.
Take a look at global agency ‘Streeters’ here, they have several photographers from around the world on board, but they all have a similar look and feel to their work.
Edit Aug 2019: Ironically, when I wrote this years ago, this agency still had plenty of photographers on their books. Today, they don’t strictly have any. They have a few ‘multi-media’ artists, but that’s it. Again, this just reiterates what I wrote years ago, photographers with agents are a dying breed. Either way, head over to the agency site and take a look at the multi-media artists they promote now.
I'll open tonights photographer spotlight by saying that I am rarely drawn to this genre of photography, but I think it was something about the sheer volume of colour in Bella Kotak's images that caught my eye.
Bella's self professed style is 'a mix between fashion, fantasy and portraiture', and I would say that every image she takes pretty much embodies that description. Beyond the fact that every image in her portfolio is utterly breathtaking, what also caught my attention is that on her Facebook page she also shows some 'before and after' shots where Bella lays bear the original unedited image and then how she transforms them into her works of art. It’s great to see a photographer at this level embracing the fact that this is art, and not simply a photograph.
I know a lot of you already follow her work and I even recognise some you modelling for her but the rest of you should definitely take the time to check out Bella Kotak's work and especially make a trip to her Facebook page to see her process.
Today we revisit the work of a photographer that has more followers than some religions. You may know her as Zemotion but now goes by her given name of Zhang Jingna.
Many moons ago, way back when online social photography blogs were a new thing, the likes of Miss Aniela, Lara Jade and Zemotion were leading the charge on the antique social networks like Deviant Art and Flickr. This was a time before specific online photo communities had any traction and long before the term TFP had any meaning so the aforementioned trio made their mark with self portraits.
Several years on, Jingna's work is world renowned and although this young fashion and beauty photographer is still in her mid twenties she has exhibited her work all over the globe.
I mentioned right at the start that we were going to revisit her work because although that same ethereal style is still present from those Deviant Art days, the new and refined work is outstanding, well polished and definitely worth a fresh look, especially her current project Motherland Chronicles. In this project Jingna seamlessly blends her love for drawing, painting, anime and photography to capture a truly stunning body of work.
Today I wanted to take a look at a slightly different style of fashion photography. We are used to seeing the sort of work that adorns the likes of Vogue and Elle, very polished and saccharin results of the tops names in L.A. and New York. That work is outstanding of course, but sometimes it’s nice to look at something a little more raw.
I was drawn to Yuji Watanabe's work for this very reason and although on first impression some images might not look finished, I think it’s our indoctrination of the current fashion photography that is giving this impression over the personal and seemingly bare and natural work of Yuji Watanabe.
I love a lot of his work and I like how he uses a huge range of techniques to create his style. Take a look yourselves and see what you think.
We hear a lot of talk at the moment about 'how to develop a photographic style', in fact it’s a question I get asked a lot, but although I think it's valuable to have an overarching theme or look to your work, I think it’s also just as important to show diversity.
With that in mind then, I want to highlight the exceptional photographic work of Lindsay Adler. In her 'fashion' portfolio on her site the work may seem very broad in technique and style, but this is why I have followed her work for so long, it keeps me coming back to check out what she's up to.
As well as being commercially prominent in the industry, Lindsay is an incredibly accomplished trainer and educator, and she’s definitely given a lot more back to the community than most, so this passion for learning is probably the catalyst of her ever developing style.
If you haven't done so already, definitely head on over to her site and check out her work and let me know what you think. If you're interested in how she achieves some of her shots then her store has a huge amount of content to keep you focused.
Steven Meisel who was born in New York in 1954 has been involved in the fashion industry for most of his life in one way or another, and although he originally started out majoring in fashion illustration, he quickly picked up a camera.
Following in the footsteps of Penn, Avedon and Stern, he quickly became the go-to guy for all of Vogues photographic needs, in fact so much so that he has now shot every cover for Italian Vogue for the past two decades!
Personally I find his photographic style a little dated (here comes the hate mail - please address all correspondence to the email@example.com), but if you're after outstanding visual dialogue within a fashion editorial, then look no further.
For me, visual dialogue is Meisel's true photographic gift and it’s something that I have seen very few other fashion photographers even attempt to come close to at this level. On his site take a look at 'Makeover Madness' and 'State of Emergency' to see what I mean, here you will see true high fashion as pictorials.
For those of us that have tried this, it is damn near impossible to pull off at this level as you have to turn fashion models into actresses and this is certainly something that I hope to pursue, and one day achieve.
Looks like it’s time for a quick re-visit to the outstanding Kristian Schuller portfolio. I think I shared his work about a year ago and back then he was and still is, famous for huge grandiose set pieces where nothing is too crazy or over-the-top. And this includes scaffolding, swings and ball gowns on the beach, to elephants and parachutes. Really, nothing is too crazy for a Kristian Schuller shoot.
It would seem that in recent shoots he has scaled back the drama and gone for more of an analogue and character driven style. I thought his work was pretty impressive before, but I think I may actually like his new take on fashion photography even more.
Take a look at the projects 'l official italia' with Coca Rocha and his New York streets 'french revue ny doll' to see his amazing blend of traditional techniques like long exposures and shutter drags with his newer hyper real colours and extravagant set designs.
As with all of my posts, I welcome your comments and thoughts on the artists I've shared here today. But although all of the photographers and creatives I've mentioned above come from my own personal tastes and appreciations, I still feel they are all incredibly varied, which ultimately means there will be at least one persons work here that you'll love.
Granted we've really only looked at 'people' photographers including, portraits, fashion and editorial shooters with none of the other photographic genres being covered, but it's still incredible to me as to how varied this single discipline can be.
I think one of the core things I want you to take away from this series is how another person interprets their subject into a photograph.
Sure you can simply reverse engineer the lighting or copy a pose of an image, but I hope you take away a lot more than simply the mechanics of a photograph.
Look at their style and see how that is impacting their work for the better. Look for similarities in pose, expression, subject, lighting, theme and colour. All of these things play a role in any image and by appreciating that in others work we can be better equipped to express it into our own images.
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