Inspiration appears unexpectedly. It is sometimes around the corner or in-between the sunlight that shines through the leaves of a tree on a sunny day. One is inspired by happiness and/or sadness. We are all unique with unique life stories and experiences. We are all creators. Some of us need love to be inspired, some of us hate. Whatever works. But obviously we cannot simply order up some inspiration because it comes when it pleases.
But is it a given thing? Could anyone create anything? I personally believe it all comes down to love. When one is capable of loving someone or something, one can create. Being able to create means appreciating the existence of someone. When we are able to create, we are also able to value creation.
We live in the shades of grey. There is also a balance to all things in life. Darkness exists because of light. And no matter how we perceive our experiences at certain moments in our lives, these views change over time; we are able to see them differently under new circumstances. Something can be good but also bad at the same time, which is why it is important to learn to accept life as it is and everything we are given – eventually we will learn something from this experience.
The experiences we consider “bad” might be sometimes happening for good reasons. We can only wait and see where everything leads. Maybe it is easy for me to say that because I never lost anyone I loved. If I lost someone I loved, could I still be able to create? Yes, maybe, because this would be a starting point. After all: we create because we feel something. It is an outlet of our feelings.
The famous Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki’s most important muse was his wife Yoko Araki and throughout his photography career, she appeared in hundreds of his photos. She must have caused him to like photography even more. When we are in love we see people through eyes of love – they become someone else to us. After he lost Yoko, his style naturally changed, but through his pain he got more and more inspired and always continued taking photos. In the end, nobody knows if his loss made him even more successful as an artist. His photography books “Sentimental Journey” and “Winter Journey” both tell the stories of his relationship to his wife and also her battle with cancer.
Another photographer that had his wife as his muse was the German photographer Helmut Newton, who was known for the sexiness of his work. Though he was often criticised as sexist due to the objectification of women. But I feel that he was only projecting his own fantasies of women – it was not to degrade them in any way. And he knew what he was doing because as we all know: sex sells. In 2014, there was an exhibition about their relationship, Helmut and June Newton’s, at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. “Us and Them” included photos of the couple’s journeys together, their self-portraits and their love story.
I am not sure if I identify myself as straight, gay or bisexual. I believe we fall in love with people because of their personalities rather than their genders. I have been in love with a woman once and she was my muse. It felt like I could photograph her all my life and I would still find her inspiring. But as it is with most relationships, it was complicated and we were never really a couple. Was it the way she inspired me that made me love her? Or was I inspired by her because I loved her? Since art is a way of showing what is beautiful, then it means I am a little in love with all the people and things I photograph.
I was so in love with my ex-boyfriend. He was the most handsome man I had ever been with and he inspired me so much because every time he moved, he gave me a new idea for a photo. But there was one problem: he did not want to be in my photographs. Therefore I did not take photos of him, so throughout our relationship I was photographing women. It was as though my heart was not allowed to love any other man, so I did not even consider photographing men. For a long time I continued photographing women and myself. Now, with my on-going Tinder project, I have been meeting a lot men and working with them – it has not necessarily been any different than working with women. But having a romantic and sexual relationship with someone and photographing them is definitely the best foundation for inspiration to appear, because we know what our loved ones are actually like and the way we see them is different than how others see them, because there is also love involved in the whole process.
One of my most favourite photography books is “Das Auge der Liebe” by the Swiss photographer Rene Groebli. He photographed his wife – his muse – during their honeymoon. She is so beautiful because she is seen through the eyes of a man who loved her. This small fact makes all the difference because everything we do with love is beautiful.