6 Things that Inspire Me and My Photography

Pictured here: The Fashion Muse; Photography by: Christine Michelle Photography

Pictured here: The Fashion Muse; Photography by: Christine Michelle Photography

Given that I am supposed to be a "creative," I found this hard to accept. But the truth is,


Seriously, it used to worry me. I could be strolling through Miami on a gorgeous day, and I would look over to my boyfriend and tell him "I feel uninspired; I don't know what it is, but nothing is compelling me to take pictures." I thought it was because I lacked vision, or because I couldn't see what others see. I spent many afternoons scrolling through Instagram in awe of what street photographers were coming up with. I wondered what was wrong with me.

It wasn't until I returned from my recent trip to Los Angeles, California, with The Fashion Muse, that I figured out WHY I felt the way I felt. Leaving my daily routine behind and being inseparable from one of the kindest people I have ever met, I finally learned the truth. And the truth is, I see just fine. It's just that only a short list of things inspire me. These things make my heart race and my face flush. They breath energy into my body when I'm otherwise tired and sore. They are my passion and so, I discovered, it's not that I don't see the beauty in other things. It's that I find these 6 things to be so inspiring, I can't help but to seek them out exclusively:

  1. Kind faces
  2. Flowers
  3. People, places, and things that are aging, chaotic, and imperfect
  4. Clean lines
  5. Repetition
  6. Animals

Seems simple enough. But after giving it some thought, I learned that everything that I find beautiful is a reflection of my life and personality.

  1. I am an old soul, and I would like to believe that I am kind and warm. So it only makes sense that I seek out kind faces and find smiles to be infectious and inspiring.
  2. To me, there are few things more beautiful than flowers. At any given time, I have at least 1 vase full of flowers in my home. They are the perfect, delicate accent to a flowing, spring time dress; they brighten up any space regardless of the condition of that space; many of them release a euphoric scent; and they symbolize things like life, love, patience, and youth. They've inspired some of the world's best artists, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that they inspire me, too.
  3. Just like flowers, I think most of us are inspired by people, places, and things that are aging and imperfect. They display character and tell stories of perseverance, struggle, war, and devotion. They range from delicate to grand and everything in between, and have inspired both artists and non-artists throughout history. Even the modeling world embraces the imperfect, finding beauty in men and women that are deemed "different." Having struggled with acne and having been bullied throughout most of middle school and high school, I identify with the imperfect and so that must explain why I find extreme beauty in it. But it doesn't explain why I find people, places, and things that are chaotic to be equally beautiful. After some thought, however, I realized that my life has always been very chaotic and, no matter what, I have been able to find order in the mess. Which takes me to my next source of inspiration...
  4. Clean lines. I love looking at things that are straight and appear to be the solution to a beautiful math problem. I love depth, but I also love when things are designed in such a way that your eyes can't help but to follow the lines down to infinity. I love both the safety found within boundaries and the exhilaration of something without limits. In school, I was excellent at math and studied engineering and architecture for several years. I am a perfectionist, and perhaps that's another reason why I find inspiration in clean lines.
  5. I have a love-hate relationship with repetition. In my personal life, I don't like it. That might seem odd, but it's simply a result of the way I grew up. I don't like hearing things more than once and I don't have a lot of extra time to fail something and start over. But in my professional life, there are very few things I love more than repetition. I love seeing rows of the same donuts, columns, trees, clothes, tiles, beach balls, boats, the list goes on. This type of repetition is inherently interesting despite not being very creative. There's just something about it that the eye appreciates, and so I'm always on the hunt for it.

  6. If you know me, it should come as no surprise that I am inspired by animals. They are my heart and soul and I would drop everything for the chance to live with a pack of wild wolves for an extended period of time. No joke. Growing up, I had a lot of pets, and at times I felt like they were all I had. I understood them in ways I didn't understand people and I felt at peace just being around them. I even felt like I had a fire in my heart that was not unlike a large, wild cat. Looking back, I think it was because I am and always will be a fighter, surviving anything and overcoming everything. Not to mention, I can't name an animal I don't find utterly beautiful and magical. That said, I could never be a nature photographer. It's just not my thing. But I look to animals for inspiration on colors, movement, textures, and patterns.

So there you go - a list of what inspires me and why. So if you're having trouble honing in on what inspires you, no matter your profession, here are a few things you can try:

  1. Take a walk somewhere new, preferably without your cell phone, and take note of the things that come to mind, both good and bad, and how they make you feel.
  2. Hang out with your pet (or young niece, nephew or child). When I'm feeling stressed out or stuck, I like to play with my pups and think about nothing else other than them. The idea here, just like in number 1, is to free your mind and break whatever unproductive thought cycle you're in.
  3. Meditate. Headspace is a surprisingly good app for that. 
  4. Hang out with new people. Perhaps you can strike up a conversation with someone at a coffee shop. I do it all the time, and it can be pretty amazing.
  5. Read an autobiography. This is a personal favorite of mine. Rather than scrolling through the endless inspiration you can find on the internet (which can be overwhelming and very unproductive), read about one person that you find inspiring and identify with. It's empowering. 
  6. Write in a journal. Or a blog. Or on Facebook. But write and keep writing. Look at this ridiculously long blog post - who knew I had so much to say.
  7. Think about all the things growing up that make you smile - food your parents used to make, comforting scents, familiar decor. These things are ingrained in you and can be an excellent source of inspiration. 
  8. Adult coloring books. You're welcome.

And just remember, staying inspired is something you have to think about and work on every day. But it's worth it. 


Christine Russo1 Comment