I’m currently on a bit of a road trip with my family going through Southern Europe in our campervan. Some of the locations we wouldn’t have been visiting if it wasn’t for other sources, whether that was me pottering around exploring in Google Earth, reading something or looking at a photographer’s work. In particular Michael Kenna’s book “Abruzzo”, a lovely cloth bound book of black and white photography, has taken us to places that we would never have considered as a part of our trip.

It has helped break the trip up quite nicely, the heat of the Bay of Naples balanced against the more tolerable climate of the mountains, before heading south to near the salt pans of Bari to catch a ferry to Montenegro. It has also in many way’s forced us to explore – I will admit to chasing down one or two of the shots in the book (and dragging my family around as well) – as the locations were just fantastic. And it got me thinking – one or two cheeky homages, aren’t a bad thing, if you spend your photographic career copying others shots that’s another thing – but if it inspires you (as it did me) to go places that you haven’t been to before – and you don’t exclusively hunt all the shots and instead be inspired then in someway I feel that the photographer who inspired you has done their job and done it well.

Continuing the “inspired by Kenna” theme, I have been processing (that what I have processed – as I am still away as I write this) in black and white – the light here is strong and harsh and probably favours black and white. I think I have two, maybe even three little projects that I need to consider/dwell upon.

  • Doorways in Spain, Italy and now Croatia are fascinating – they have a character all of their own – especially those in the old medieval hill top villages and towns.
  • Dubrovnik roofs – the new roofs in Dubrovnik denote houses/buildings that had been hit by shell fire during the war, old roofs are from houses that weren’t hit.
  • Flowers – particularly in Italy, I have never seen such a profusion of traditional wild flowers in amongst crops – it was a joy

Below is a small selection of what I have looked at so far (all with the caveat that these have been developed on a laptop whilst crouching at a table lit by candle light).

What are your thoughts on gaining inspiration versus copying? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts (by commenting below).

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