4 Questions – Orwig

In Chris Orwig’s new book Visual Poetry , top photographers answer the same four questions.
What inspires you?
What makes a photograph good?
What character qualities should the photographer nurture and develop?
Advice for the aspiring photographer?
Find out what Chris’ answers were.
What are yours? Comment here!

What inspires you?
Literature. Music. Poetry. Reflections. Shadows. Colors. The Sea.
Trees. Trails. Sand. Shells.
Artists. Architects. Athletes.
Hope. Challenge. Depth. Dreams.
The newness that only comes at dawn.
When simplicity and authenticity go hand-in-hand.
That which marks, revels or reveals the passage of time.
People. The who behind the what.
What makes a photograph good?
A good photograph is one makes you feel. It disarms you. It sneaks up on you and draws you in. And then it gets better the time. The more you look, the more you think, savor, imagine and change. The best photographers make us come alive. They bring what’s inside out.
What character qualities should the photographer nurture and develop?
I’ve come to believe that there is a bit of the artist in each of us. The trick is to nurture and develop what is already there. As Robert Henri says,  “When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature.  He becomes interesting to other people; he disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for a better understanding.  Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible.”
Finally, if you really want to go far you absolutely have to have passion. Passion is what fuels our vision, strengthens our resolve and pushes us beyond our limitations. If you want to become a better photographer, make pictures of that which you are most passionate about.
Advice for the aspiring photographer?
Embrace Technique
Linda Shangnessy said it best, “Technique is like the roots of the apple tree, without the root the tree cannot produce fragrant juicy fruit.” Work hard with your technique but hide your tracks. Make us believe. Like how WB Yeats described writing poetry, ” A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought, Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.”
Live Whole Heartedly
Do what you do with your whole heart. Invest yourself and be enthusiastic. As Ralph Waldo Emmerson famously said, “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it all you might. Put your whole soul into it.”
Begin Where you Are
Paraphrasing Mother Theresa, she once said it’s easy to love someone in a far away land. It’s difficult to love those you live with. If you want to make a difference, begin where you are. And I think this logic applies to us as photographers on many levels. For example, if you want to learn to see, begin with where you are and what you love. For as Jean Anouilh said, “Things are beautiful if you love them.”
Dream Big
The greatest thinkers, artists and people of our time are those who dream by day and night. As Edgar Allen Poe wrote, “Those who dream by day are cognizant of things which escape those who only dream by night.” Edgar Allen Poe. Loosen your grip on common sense and take a few moments each day to dream.
Photography is a medium of experimentation, discovery and risk. If you want to make better photographs you have to make risk part of your everyday life. As Andre Gide said, “We cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. ”
This time is now
Many of us delay life thinking, “If only…. this or that.” If only thinking won’t get you far. Too much time has already passed. Stir up the coals of your dreams and as Henry David Thoreau said, “Live the life you have imagined.” Today is the day. The adventure begins now.