Inspiration from Your Couch

My favorite way of refueling the inspiration gas tank whenever I'm feeling creatively blah is going somewhere I've never been before and disconnecting myself from the rest of humanity for a bit. But let’s face it, none of us get to do this nearly enough. Thankfully, the internet is full of amazing content creators who make it possible for us to travel through space and time and jumpstart our creative batteries without ever leaving our living room couch. I guess that’s a good thing?

Netflix has been killing it lately with their original content and these two recently released docu-series are binge-worthy content for any photographer: Tales by Light follows a different photographer in each episode (6 so far) as they explore exotic locations and go to physical extremes to create breathtaking images. Check your pulse if your wanderlust doesn't spike after watching a couple episodes.

Abstract: The Art of Design focuses more on the creative process than photography per se but is just as applicable to us shutterbugs. Each episode delves into the mind of a leading artist/designer to understand their approach to problem-solving and their insights on the nature of human creativity. I'm still working my way through the series but I can highly recommend episode 1 (Christoph Nieman - Illustration) and episode 7 (Platon - Phootgraphy). I think it's a safe bet that the remaining episodes are equally engaging. 

Finally, it’s shameless plug time: most of you don’t know that I produced a documentary film recently. Well, it’s finally made it to Netflix (also available on Amazon , Hulu & iTunes). It’s called In Search of Balance and it has nothing to do with photography, but if you’re interested in the intersection of human health and the natural world including topics like the human microbiome and ‘beyond organic’ natural farming, give it a try. If you like it, your review/rating would be very helpful. You can get more info about the film and see the trailer here

No person who ever clicked a shutter is better known than Ansel Adams. But even (or especially) amongst photographers, he’s appreciated more as a master technician than as a great artist. As the inventor of the Zone System and a darkroom virtuoso, Adam’s chops as a master craftsman are indisputable. But Adams was an equally great artist in the truest sense of the word. The PBS film, Ansel Adams, A Documentary Film, captures both sides of the legend. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit but I’ve practically memorized the opening monologue by John Szarkowski. It’s one of the best articulations of what photography, or art for that matter, is ‘about’ least in my opinion. Highly recommended.  

Maybe I’m just slow, but I just discovered Ted Forbe’s Art of Photography YouTube channel (285K subscribers, 17M views). Ted is an amazingly prolific producer of videos on all aspects of photography including artist profiles, photo gear, techniques and the history of photography. I’ve barely scratched the surface but I can tell you that the content I’ve seen is very well produced and thought out. His profile on legendary photojournalist  W. Eugene Smith is outstanding. It easily holds its own against any commercially produced documentary in terms of both content and production values. I don't agree with everything Ted says but I am in awe of the volume he outputs and I deeply appreciate the service he freely provides. Check it out.

Your Picks
This list is far from exhaustive. I’d love to know if you've discovered any gems related to photography on the interwebs. Let me know in the comments.