What are the Most Inspiring Images to You?

I became a photographer because I fell in love with images, with photographs. As a child, I pored over old National Geographic magazines, fashion magazines, our encyclopedias, anything that included images in its pages. I stared at particularly striking or impactful images for what felt like ages, soaking up everything I could from them. Over the years, I have encountered inspiration in photos in many other ways as well. Some photos I can’t bear to look at. Some I can’t turn away from. Sometimes I don’t understand why. Sometimes I feel as though I’m looking at myself. Some images I am overtaken by aesthetically, though symbolically, feel they disappoint. Some images have opened new realms for me artistically; suggested a new way of interacting with photography than I have ever before considered. There are so many ways to be inspired.

What are the most inspiring images (artistically, emotionally, visually, symbolically) that you have encountered recently or long ago? What photographs have left you breathless, choked up, stunned? Which image have you needed near you, to look at repeatedly? Which images have you not been able to look at? Which photos have been symbolically most satisfying to you? Has an image ever been for you the beginning of a paradigm shift?

Post your answers here (links, photos, or descriptions of the photos) to share the inspiration!

Here is one of my many most inspiring images, by Nan Goldin. When first introduced to Nan Goldin’s work, in college, I was overcome by new photographic possibilities. She photographed her life, whatever she encountered, without judgment. She photographed her own weaknesses, among other things, exhibiting empowerment through her courage in photographing them.

Nan Goldin

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