Challenging One’s Creativity

I recently had a conversation with a friend about inspiration and challenging one’s creativity.

A couple of nationally known photographers I follow have declared ‘abstinence’ from viewing the work of others due to thinking it hinders their personal creativity and vision. I, on the other hand, tend to spend a great deal of time viewing the work of others to find new ideas, techniques, and inspiration.

Here are a few of my recent images that have been inspired by the work of others.


Inspired by Frances Seward

my garden

Inspired by Karen Messeck


Inspired by Seeing Fresh – The Practice of Contemplative Photography”

The question I wrestle with, however, is how do we as artists ‘honor’ the source of inspiration while challenging ourselves to learn new techniques and stretch our own personal creativity?

While I love finding inspiration from others, I also love it when a viewer says “I knew immediately that piece was yours. You have your own ‘voice.’”

”Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.” — Henry Ward Beecher.

Contributed by Sue Henry

6 thoughts on “Challenging One’s Creativity

  1. Beau Dodson

    Had a great time yesterday catching up with you, Sue. Jackson was just wonderful. I hope he remembers what I told him. His eyes will see things that we can only dream of.

    I read your comments above and I laughed. I have also met people who don’t want to view other peoples work. This was an artist outside of photography. Perhaps this occurs more often than we realize. I have found myself with some of the same feelings. If I see something that inspires me, then should I try and repeat the process. It is a tough question. I can understand what you mentioned the person is feeling. I don’t know if it is good or bad (perhaps neither). I think seeing other peoples artwork, music, and photography can be an inspiration. But, I do understand their feelings.

  2. Vicky Stromee

    Should we then close our eyes to our natural surroundings, as they are the source of such inspiration? Without the reference of others’ work, can I truly hone my own voice?

    1. Sue

      I personally lean to the philosophy that ‘six people can shoot the same scene at the same time and come out with six totally unique and different images; thus confirming that each individual has their own vision.’ However, I have seen people out and out ‘copy’ the work of others. That’s the part I think is ‘wrong.’

      Thanks for stopping by, Vicky, and taking the time to comment.


Leave a Reply to Beverly Carrierbe Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s