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Inspiration In Photography is a very, well, inspiring book and really works to provide you with a lot of material that you can use as well as practical exercises to enhance your creativity.

Book Review: ‘Inspiration In Photography: Training Your Mind to Make Great Art a Habit’ by Brooke Shaden

Inspiration In Photography is the latest book by creative artist Brooke Shaden. She is a fine art photographer whose passion is to create new worlds through the use of photographic techniques. While her training is from the film and cinema world, in 2008 she took up the camera and has never looked back.

Brooke Shaden is known for her self-portraits and her ability to put herself in amazing worlds that she envisions and the kind of worlds that she wishes she could live in. In her book Inspiration In Photography the author will show you how to train your mind to see inspiration in any setting. She will introduce you to her creative process and reveal techniques and exercises to inspire you to look at your world differently and develop creative output from your mind. This book contains three chapters and 192 pages.

Inspiration In Photography
Inspiration In Photography – Brooke Shaden

Chapter 1 – “The Philosophy” begins with a personal history of Brooke Shaden and childhood memories of growing up in Pennsylvania. She always thought that her creativity would go away when she grew up. When it didn’t, she ended up going to college to be filmmaker and/or cinematographer so as to fulfill her desire to tell stories. But that was until she picked up a digital camera and found that it can be used for more than documenting reality; that it can be used for creating new realities.

Her philosophy is that inspiration should come from within. That there is too much inclination to use others work for inspiration and then it becomes to resemble someone else’s style. Her philosophy is to ask yourself what makes you happy? For her, it was dark yet beautiful images. To the author, everyone has some sort of creativity that has to be examined and nurtured and that once you find what inspires you, then you need to learn how to use it to accomplish your goals. She says that most often, creativity is nothing more than problem solving. When you come up against a problem, the act of solving it brings the creativity. Throughout this chapter she describes the things that you can do to foster your creativity from finding your passion to defining your style.

Chapter 2 – “The Practice” defines the art of photography into two separate areas. Commercial photography is where you create photographic work for a client and fine-art photography where you create work for yourself. The latter category is all encompassing and can include all styles as long as it is done with the artist’s interest in mind as the sole objective.

In this chapter you will explore the realms of photography as she shows how these two areas of photography are not in competition with one another. In fact one style many times will help the other to develop in new and interesting ways to perceive things. Here, along with exploring topics such as creating new worlds, creating characters, working with props, working under water, creating self-portraits and more, the author also introduces case studies in which she introduces us to other artists who are creating interesting work and they provide additional insight into the thinking that brought about their stylized works.

Chapter 3 – “Student Case Studies & Inspirational Exercises” describes inspiration as nothing more than a feeling that provides us the motivation to create. No matter your calling, being inspired is the beginning to creating something greater than what existed before. She first begins with five images that were inspired by five image elements; location, prop, wardrobe, color, and technique where she explains the thought process behind the work development.

The rest of the chapter is devoted to showing you how to use this same technique as inspiration for your own creations. The inspirational exercise’s include the chart; where you pick a category and develop an image from there, the tissue box; where you take an everyday object and envision it in a whole new way, critique; where you go back on older images and describe what works and what does not work, and much more.

Inspiration In Photography is very well written and beautifully illustrated. There are a lot of images in this book and each one is documented with both concepts behind the shot as well as some of the things that she did to capture the shot; remember this is not a how-to book, but rather a here are some of my ideas so come up with some of your own.

Along with the case studies, there are practical pointers sprinkled in that can give you direction to find your own way. Inspiration In Photography is a very, well, inspiring book and really works to provide you with a lot of material that you can use as well as practical exercises to enhance your creativity and for that reason, I very highly recommend Inspiration In Photography.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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