Words Nathan Richards
First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Nathan Richards. I am a fashion photographer originally from North Carolina, USA, but now located in London, UK. I am 6’1” tall and look a lot like Brad Pitt…. Ok, I’m actually 5’7” and look like a hobbit, but who cares.
I want to start by saying I completely understand the seriousness of this virus. My heart goes out to everyone who has been effected. I know we will be back to a more normal way of life soon, but that doesn’t make the here and now any easier. However, I truly believe it is important to try and find a few ways to make this lockdown just a little better. Just remember, you are not alone in this raziness. There are people who want to talk to you, and you can always DM me on Instagram. I would be more than happy to talk.
When I was asked to write an article about staying inspired and creative as a fashion photographer during his pandemic, I started thinking about what I do each day for my career as well as for myself to stay inspired. I realized that I am constantly doing something that inspires me in one way or another. Everyone gets inspired differently, but here is a breakdown of how I’m staying inspired while stuck at home.
When it comes to fashion photography, staying inspired is not too hard for me. My career as a fashion photographer is one of the most important things in my life, so I am constantly filling my mind with the work of past and present legends of fashion to progress my knowledge of this beautiful thing we call fashion. Whether it’s fashion photographers or fashion designers, I am always studying imagery and thinking about how I would personally shoot what I’m seeing. I think that when you study these things, you can find inspiration in your day to day life. Other ways I stay inspired while stuck inside are watching photography tutorials online, reading fashion magazines, practicing retouching, painting, and watching YouTube. On YouTube, there are millions of videos on photography. I personally love watching behind the scenes videos of shoots and studying how they are lighting the model. These are a few very simple things I do to keep my creative brain alive. I will also setup a small backdrop in my lounge and photograph my wife and puppy. No, this won’t be the cover of Vogue, but it will help me study lighting and train my eye. You know what people say, “If you want to get better, keep taking photos.” If you don’t have a wife or puppy where you are in lockdown, you can always find random things around your space. Photograph them as a still life project like Irving Penn did. There is always something you can take photos of. I think it is important to do one thing everyday that moves my career in the correct direction. I am not saying you shouldn’t have days where you don’t work, but for myself, I can’t relax until I do at least one thing to progress my career.
My personal life is where I struggle to stay inspired. When I am not working, I feel guilty for not working which makes it difficult for me to relax. This lockdown is a good exercise for me to try and get better at being ok with not working all the time. However, I’m still trying to find a few things outside of fashion photography that inspire me. Playing guitar is one of the ways I find a bit of inspiration when I’m not in work mode. I have been playing guitar for a few years now, but it is still new enough where learning a new song takes time, and time is the one thing I now have a lot of. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts as well. These podcasts all tend to be about photography, fashion, or business. In my opinion, you can learn a lot about yourself and how you want to live just by listening to these. Studying cooking and enjoying a hot cup of coffee are other ways I spend my quarantine. If you know me, you know I like to eat and drink ( too much ) coffee, so studying about these things gets me excited and allows me to have an escape from the craziness for a few minutes. Recently, I have been talking with other photographers online. Speaking to others who are experiencing the same situation as I am helps put everything into perspective. It’s also great to talk to others about your ideas for future work. This could potentially help you, or the other person find the creativity that could be missing.
I hope this article has helped you find some ways to be inspired during your lockdown. If not, at least you killed a few minutes of lockdown. Just remember, if you’re lucky enough to be healthy during this pandemic, you are already winning. Stay inside and stay healthy.