I’m currently studying Kurosawa, the legendary film maker from Japan, and I realized why I like to study the masters of photography.
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1. The masters motivate me to shoot
Studying Kurosawa and other film and cinema, I am utterly inspired by their genius. How they composed images, how they told stories through their pictures, and their singular vision.
When I study a lot of master photographers, and analyze their images (I like to trace their pictures with my fingers on iPad, using Procreate app) I start to better SEE pictures. I feel like my visual acuity and Perception is sensitized, like increasing the ISO of my eyes for composition and graphical forms.
I get excited. I see graphical elements and pictures everywhere.
I’ve been experimenting, shooting picture on iPad, then tracing them too.
Lesson: Anything and everything is interesting enough, only if you look closely enough.
Also by tilting your head, diagonals, low angles.
Anything that motivates me to make pictures is good.
2. NO COMPLAINING
I always am amazed… Seven Samurai was filmed in the 1950s, with old and cumbersome equipment, and of course… on film.
Yet today, we all complain our equipment and gear isn’t good enough.
Why do we make excuses? We have nothing to complain about. Our gear is 1000x better than the masters from the past.
For me the lesson is this:
Don’t complain about our gear, and JUST SHOOT!
3. Encouragement to take it to the next level
So granted the masters who came before us had worse equipment than us, and they didn’t have the internet, and they didn’t have all the great digital technologies that we have now…what is really holding us back? In theory, shouldn’t we able to supersede them? To be WAY better than them?
My motivation: find inspiration from the masters, but seek to become BETTER THAN THEM.
For example, I find a lot of inspiration from Henri Cartier-Bresson, but I think I’m starting to understand composition and photography and art better than him. I think I’m a lot more developed as an artist and philosopher than him. I think I’ve jumped over him now, and I finally killed my master, and I’m paving my own path.
Lesson: Don’t be a slave to the masters of photography. Find inspiration and motivation from them, and learn their secrets, philosophies, and consume their art. But, you must make your own unique honey. Therefore, kill your master, and set forth on your own path.
That means you don’t need to quote any master. You don’t need to “name drop”or cite your “credentials” or where you studied, or went to school.
BOLDLY STATE YOUR OWN OPINION, and BOLDLY SHARE YOUR ART. No self-censorship in your art and photography.
4. Appreciation of the past
While we are individuals, we must have appreciation for the past.
One without a past has no future.
The masters who came before us paved the path for us. They learned from their masters. And we learn from them.
Yet, we must find appreciation for the masters, but seek to ADD to their legacy, by creating our own legacy. By remixing what we learn from the masters, but making it yours.
As humans, legacy, heritage and the past are important to us. We learn by copying others, and mimicking or imitating others. This is how children learn. And this is how we should learn.
Don’t be the fool who says, “I taught myself everything I know.” No you didn’t. You learned consciously or subconsciously from your parents, teachers, and other artists.
Be proud to be a human, and an artist who was inspired by others. But once again, appreciation without ACTION of making your own pictures is useless.
Therefore the formula is this:
- Find inspiration from the past, and the masters, and our everyday experiences.
- Make our own art and pictures.
5. Make more pictures!
Study the masters of photography, and find inspiration from them. Watch their interviews, buy their books, and analyze their images and ask yourself,
Why are their pictures so good? Why do I like their pictures? And what can I learn from them, and integrate those lessons into my own photography, and get BETTER THAN THEM?
Above all have faith in yourself friend. You’re on the right path.
Also fresh off the HAPTIC Press is MASTERS: EDITION I. They’re quickly selling out, so make sure to buy one before they’re all sold out.
Who are some of your favorite masters of photography? Share your inspiration in ERIC KIM FORUM.
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