Inspiration can sometimes be erratic with no real basis except an emotional attachment. When creating this week’s inspirational photo article, I had a number of ideas in my head and I had a number of great photos lined up (don’t worry, I’ll get to those in the coming weeks). But I happened upon Highkey by Gerald Chan and I stopped cold. This is what I knew I was going to write about. And the reason is simple: Spring.
As I am writing this, I am preparing for Easter (I try to write these articles several days before publication). To me, Easter has always meant spring. So perhaps I am in the spring mood in the first place. And that is why Gerald’s flower has spoken to me. Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of a style or an approach that you’d like to mimic or draw from when you create your own works. Most cases, that is the type of inspiration I bring to you. But this is the other kind of inspiration: A reminder that you already have something in your head or a subject idea that you’d like to shoot. Initially, at least, Gerald’s photo has struck a chord inside me and it has inspired me to photograph flowers. Because…well…Spring!
Highkey is an incredible photo of a flower featuring a lot of technique and skill. And that’s what really caught my eye. I viewed a lot of photographs of flowers over the past several weeks (again, because: spring), but few are really appealing to me. I am personally not a fan of flower photographs. But I am a fan of well done photos of flowers. Gerald’s clearly falls in the last category. The title of the photo is a clue to what makes this so great: High Key. A pleasant side effect of high key photography is that hard edges and lines are softened. We lose definition in the shape of the subject. Here, the petals bleed into each other and bleed well into the background. There is almost a back-light effect along the darker edges, such as along the stem or where the stamen (those are the yellow pollen-holding bits at the center of the flower) meet the lighter petals. The effect is not unlike that of a watercolor painting. Fill the frame at a slight angle and you have a beautiful work of art.
We’ve featured Gerald Chan’s work here before at Shutter Photo, specifically a photo titled Winding Path which we featured back in December 2013. His photostream continues to be a tightly edited mix of predominately architectural and landscape photos, with a smattering of a few other styles. A common thread among his work is an excellent (but not overdone) use of technique and style compounded with well composed images. Your own work would benefit from following Gerald’s work.