It’s not often that we have the time to slow down, and really immerse ourselves in a good article, book, or magazine. When the opportunity affords itself, we’re often looking far and wide for a good read that’s worth the time. Whether that can be found on the bookshelves in the studio, the stack of magazines on our desk, or queued up in an RSS feed on the web, the sheer amount information is plentiful out there – it’s just a matter of filtering out the junk. Lucky for you, we have a new monthly series on the blog that cuts through the crap and shares inspiration and information that we find especially valuable. Consider it required reading.
Sometimes it feels as if there’s a glut of industry publications. Magazines and source-books span the gamut from amateur technical manuals to fine art publications, monthly gear reviews, and industry news – each title providing an equally endless number of contests, exhibitions, and opportunities for photographers to pay to share their work. In the past few years I feel like I’ve noticed the number of these contests and paid entry showcases rising to a level of almost absurdity; contest for portraiture, landscape, food, wedding, landscape photography, nightlife photos – it seems to never end.
With the increase in the number of competitions, the trend-line seems to show a shift in the quality of photography that is winning in all of these newfound competitions. Forgive the negativity, but all of the contests need photos to win and I’m just not sure if the cream is still rising to the top.
That being said, there are a few longstanding contests and features that I find genuinely inspiring – one of the most viewed in the studio being Luerzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide. The biennial contest and resulting publication provide an incredibly well curated and very global perspective into the best photography worldwide from commercial artists at the top of their game.
Aside from providing a visually interesting and thorough cross-section of the industry, the images within 200 best are always inspiring. No photographer exists in a bubble, cut off from the rest of our industry and in that same vein, no photographer should deny seeking inspiration from what his or her contemporaries are working on. The rising tide of creativity can raise all ships – if we seek to be enlightened by the work of those around us.
If you’re not familiar with Archive, or their 200 Best publication – do yourself a favor and take the time to get inspired. You’ll gain insight into some of the best photos that are out there today.