"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost"
If you ask yourself two very simple questions, the first - “What inspires me?” And the second - “What influences me?”. All too often the two get mixed up when in fact they are very different from each other. By definition Inspire means ‘To produce or arouse a feeling, thought etc: To inspire confidence in others’ whereas Influence is defined by ‘The power to shape policy or ensure favourable treatment from someone, especially through status, contacts, or wealth.’ To be honest there are many definitions for each but I found these the most relevant to the two questions earlier.
As a photographer, as part of my creative process I look for inspiration from many things and one of them is social media. I try to find other photographers who are posting content that I would like to capture myself or I look for people who are unique in their style. I do this for inspiration, to jog my own imagination into coming up with content that is totally distinctive to my style. Now this does give me inspiration to a degree but to be honest I find it actually influences me more than it does inspire. When I start thinking about an idea I have for a photo I start by piecing it together in my head but immediately I start thinking about other cool photos I seen and think “that would be cool” then I have to snap out of that train of thought because I am not trying to copy someone else, I am trying to do something completely new. And so the very thing I looked for inspiration in I was actually influenced and I don’t like that, it doesn’t promote new ideas, it just creates content that has already been done. All too often when I log onto instagram, I see a photo that someone with 100k followers posts and then weeks and even month later I see photos from other instagrammers trying to recreate that same image. Now I’m not saying thats a bad thing but what it does do is spoil our own creative minds and the potential to become the next say…. Picasso!
Inspiration - it’s a wonderful thing. It unlocks new realms of possibilities. It gives us the motivation to get out and achieve great things.
I encourage you to be inspired.