What do you do when you can’t find photography work? Pitching is a good use of time, but too much can burn out new artists. Here’s another idea: Watch every movie, go to every art gallery, and dig out every photo you can find to get new visual ideas for inspiration:
This advice comes from established fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who’s shot celebrities from Beyoncé to John Cusack for editions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar across the world.
“Research, research, research. It is the most important thing you can do. Keep a visual diary of everything you see, everything that interests you, everything that’s amazing, everything that’s beautiful….Go and visit old bookshops. Go and visit old postcard shops. Poster shops. Look at old magazines. Go to galleries, go to exhibitions, go visit anything with imagery. Watch old movies, watch foreign movies, watch black-and-white movies; watch any movies. Watch children’s programs. Just keep filling your visual library.”
One reason this is a handy tip, Lubomirski points out, is that having a firm visual reference is the best way to help communicate your idea to someone else—a hairstylist, say, or beautician. After all, simply asking someone to create an “edgy” hairstyle is a fairly vague way to describe whatever you think “edgy” means.
The other benefit to keeping a visual archive on your computer or in a scrapbook is that having a concrete aesthetic in mind will, at some point, be useful for you.
“You may not understand why you like that image right now and how you can use it in a project, but trust me—in 10 years’ time, 15 years’ time, two months’ time, you’re going to find a use for it.”
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