Leave it to my Tremont photography family to provide the photographic inspiration kindling I so desperately needed. They often issue challenges that give me a much-needed kick in the ass to rediscover my photographic groove.
The challenge issued this time is born out of the Covid-19 crisis. Way back in the shutdown era, my pal Tom asked us to dig back into our archives. His directive was to find pre-2019 images that we had not yet bothered to process. Since we were all hobbled in the ability to get out and shoot, why not dig back into the depths of our hard drives and rediscover some hidden beauty?
Inspiration from within
I’ve had moments of wanting to pick up the camera and just shoot over the last 11 months since becoming a fulltime nomad. But the hamster wheel would always win. The urgency of managing our tenuous full-time-RVing-during-a-pandemic situation on a daily basis would crush any notion of creativity.
Here-and-there, I’ve been seeking inspiration in other people’s work that I admire. But the muse has only been coming in fits and starts with that tactic, and would always fizzle.
I’m realizing there’s a big gap between seeing the beautiful images others have created and using that as inspiration to create your own unique work. It can plant the seed. But when you’re having an epic grudge match with creativity, that seed is almost impossible to nurture because it’s out of reach. It’s a bit too theoretical. When you’re stuck, it’s difficult to internalize their work in the context of your personal vision, then mold it to your own needs and style.
Turns out what I actually needed was to look back at my own work. This latest challenge from my photog pals helped me remember that I’ve got a decent body of work in my own right. And the images are very Val and thus, more accessible as inspiration. I got a jolt as the muscle memory kicked in. Reviewing my own images reminded me of how much fun I had making them and how good it felt to see something and capture it. And it reminded me that I’m capable of creating compelling images.
I got fired up about playing with the post-processing more than I normally do in these challenges. That’s the icing on the inspiration cake. I experimented with a lot more abstract interpretations and masking to highlight elements and accentuate the story. I’m not certain how I’ll feel about those treatments long-term. I am glad I stepped out of my normal process to see what else is possible, though.
The Covid-5 Monochrome
So with that preface, here are the previously unloved images my photography pals inspired me to unearth from the bowels of my catalog. (Also, I cheated! It was supposed to be the “Covid-5” as Tom named our challenge but I took the liberty of choosing five each of monochrome and color/hybrid.)
The Covid-5 Color/Hybrid
Cheers, friends! Keep moving forward, even if you have to rethink what that means in challenging times. This exercise hasn’t been the antidote to an astoundingly bad year but it has helped.
My art is available available in my Photodeck storefront.
Thank you for supporting your favorite motorcycle-riding, nomadic, starving artist.
Steve Zigler says
Nice collection of images, Val! I hope you come back in the spring. I miss you and I hear there is a new lead instructor for the spring edition. ?
Val Weston says
I so want to be there. Our nomad life is such a shitfest still, though. Much love to you, my dear. I will try to be there. I miss the inspiration of the workshop, your leadership, and my beloved Tremont family so much.
Lisa Malachowsky says
I love the bathtub shot! Where was that taken?
Val Weston says
That one is from Elkmont in the Smokies. I tried to accentuate the grittiness of it. I’m glad you like it!