Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back to the Grind...Inspiration time!

Photo classes have begun once again and that means I'm back to my blog.
This semester I am taking JRN 521, which is my last photo class at CMU.
My first assignment is to write a post about who inspires me. I've done some soul-searching, and have decided that after this semester, I will be looking for a job in the advertising world- hopefully taking photos and designing ads.

As such, I feel like my inspiration needs to have an ad-y feel. I have come up with a few different people who's photography I really love and think they truly are what I aspire to be.
So here goes...

The first person I found was Joe Vaughn. He does portrait, food, and lifestyle photography. I especially like the shots he has done with food. They are simple, precise, and capture exactly what the food is supposed to look like. They also seem appetizing, even in black and white. That someone is able to capture the essence of something that most people in this country take for granted is just amazing. I would love to be able to take pictures of inanimate objects this well. I am hoping to do a shoot this semester of more still life objects in the hopes that I can do this, as well. The angles he uses to shoot from will be especially fun to try. For those interested, his website is

Another great photographer is CJ Benninger. His work features people, cars and musical acts. I was drawn most to the fashion shots he displayed. The lighting is what got me. Most fashion shoots are highly-lit and blown out, but CJ made sure to light the person. Some of the backgrounds are well lit, as well, but for the most part, the light of the photograph is focused on the person. This makes complete sense to me. The light usually tells the viewer where to look, and in these photographs, the viewer can't go wrong: the only thing lit is the main subject. I can also employ this technique to my advantage. By lighting just the main subject, and nothing else, it creates a wonderful mood that is easy to replicate. This will be especially easy to do if I shoot in the studio. Snoots and other directional forces will make the light go exactly where I want it to. I am very excited to try this out! CJ's portfolio can be seen at

A third photographer I was impressed and inspired by was Nathan Garcia. He focuses his work on still lifes, portraits, and nighttime photography. I was especially drawn to the still life shots, because advertising often focuses on products and I expect to be doing a lot of still life work. His shots are very clean, bright and upbeat. It is great to see good, neat shots that would be easy to place in an ad. Looking at his photos caused me to start designing layouts around them. This is exactly what I want my photography to do: inspire others to come up with ways to display my work to the best of their ability. These shots, too, would be easy to replicate in the studio. It will take me time to perfect this art, but Nathan is definitely a very inspiring photographer. His work is located at

Finally, I found Roy Ritchie. I was unsure what exactly he was trying to do with his work, but I especially loved the set of photographs he did entitled "Pink." This set shows different rooms and settings, all immersed in the color pink, frills and knick-knacks. Pink is my favorite color, so I was obviously drawn to the folder. But what it contained looked like it belonged in a home decorating magazine (and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it already has been). The way he took a room and made me want to examine every inch was amazing. The inspiration in these photographs wasn't so much to take this kind of photo (it is something I hope I can already do), but to have a room like this someday! It seems silly, I know :) However, the photographs really caught the essence of the rooms. This is something I try to do in all of my work, so the inspiration lies there, as well. I will continue to try in every picture I take to capture the soul of my subject as well as Roy did. His photographs can be viewed at

These photographers inspire me to improve my photographs in every way I can so I can be as successful as they are. I think it is important to add that I found all of these photographers through Wonderful Machine Photographers ( All of them are based near the Detroit area. The site also features the rest of the company's photographer's website, living all around the country. While I didn't have time to look through all of them, I hope to do so soon to be inspired even more!


  1. Nice diverse group of photographers you chose for your inspiration. Good job being specific about what you like about them.

  2. I've never heard of the Wonderful Machine Photographers, but I checked out your link to their website and it looks pretty cool. I also like the fact that you choose to show off several different photographers, I did the same thing because I like so many different people.