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Inspiration

Published by Catherine Nguyen

“Inspiration responds to our attentiveness in various and sometimes unexpected ways.”
-Wayne W. Dyer


Our culture is infatuated with the concept of inspiration. As we clamor for the next original, incredible, out-of-the-box idea, we constantly analyze what it means to be inspired. Where does inspiration come from? How do we get more of it? What kind of inspiration will propel me to greater heights?

Inspiration fascinates me every bit as much as it does the next person. I surround myself with my artistic passions, the food I love, the music that moves me, the magazines and books that enlighten me, antiques that enrich my life, and the art that energizes me. Travel inspires me, too, allowing me to experience beauty in many different corners of the world. Most importantly, I find inspiration in the people who are part of my life as well as those I meet along the way. All these things help enrich my growth as an interior and exterior photographer.

When I shoot on location, I often find the current project itself inspires me, whether it’s a beautifully executed exterior, like the roof lines of a house by Tony Frazier, or a brilliant interior, such as the arches of a hallway in a Speight Built home in Raleigh, NC. Details like these fill me with an inexplicable feeling. I see things break down into simple lines and composition, into foreground and background. Suddenly, I know which angles that I want to shoot and how to capture the architectural elements before me. I can even gauge how quickly I need to move or where I need to step to maximize natural light and shadowing. I spend time collaborating with designers, which opens an entirely new set of opportunities. Each designer I work with interprets things differently for their clients, and then I need to capture their unique vision as an image. Sometimes designers will share with me the details that have inspired them, but often I need to find the things that are worth accentuating, like a decorative doorknob or millwork on a ceiling.

I also seek inspiration in my personal life, which helps me to keep my creative juices flowing and keeps my work from looking or feeling robotic. I love flipping through magazines and noticing details, such as the way designers use negative spaces, or new trends of rich fabrics. As I edit, I always play music to keep my energy level perfectly balanced. Walking through an art gallery or a museum takes me to a different place completely, firing up the creative portions of my brain. Drinking in new perspectives introduces a new way of seeing and gives me an immense respect for the details. You can’t be inspired by something if you are oblivious to it, so I make a point of taking in as much as I can, remembering that every accent piece or work of art tells a story. I’m inspired by the things I find beautiful, of course, but I also appreciate designs that don’t match my own personal style or taste. I enjoy contemplating the thought process and the genius behind someone else’s vision, and it takes me to another level of inspiration.

At the end of the day, I want to capture a feeling with my camera. I want to transport future viewers to this place and share with them these emotions. If I don’t find inspiration in what I see, chances are others will not be inspired by what I produce, either. Fortunately, we can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere.  All you need to do is expand your senses and take care not to let these gifts pass you by. 

Contact me at Catherine Nguyen Photography and let’s find some inspiration together!