How to be inspired

By on September 10, 2012

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions lately on who I am, what I do, how I do it… so I figured I’d throw together a 15 minute interview on myself for you guys! Since I had recently written an article on inspiration for Kwerfeldein, I figured I’d throw up the english version over here on my end of the world. Combined with the fact that PetaPixel requested an interview with me I figured I’d merge the two topics together and make this video. It’s quite challenging filming and editing things yourself so I did the best I could here….! Sorry for the “ums” and “has”… I’m still working on my camera face !

Von wong rebirth tree

To commemorate this interview, I have whipped out an extremely old set of images I had taken in the past and finally completed a concept that I’ve had running in my mind for the longest time. These portraits of me were actually shot somewhere in Feb. 2010… the background in Israel on March 2012 and finally all spontaneously thrown together in Sept 2012.

The message? That we are the sum of our experiences. Good, bad… they are all a part of who we are today. There is no need to fear what is to come… we’ll get through it.

That’s it for now! I leave you with my article on HOW I FIND INSPIRATION.

As a creative artist, I am often asked: How do you come up with such crazy ideas? How do you find the people to participate? Where do you find the time and the energy?

The answer is one word: Inspiration.

 

Inspiration is paramount, for without it, we cannot create. It is the momentum that pushes an idea into motion. That starting point before you even pick up the camera. Being open to inspiration is to wake up in the morning and feel excited to be alive. To look at the world as a place of endless opportunities, and have the energy and drive to follow through with them. Being inspired is like being in love – it moves and transforms you.

The Agonist - Promo 2012

“The Agonist” – Behind the Scenes with Video

Before continuing, let me introduce myself. I am a 25 year old self-taught photographer who spontaneously dived into photography following a break up in November 2007. At the time, I was working in a Gold mine in the barren deserts of Winnemucca, Nevada, and decided that taking pictures of the beautiful night skies would be a great distraction. The journey began with a trip to Wal-Mart.

Most recently, I quit my job as a Mining Engineer to pursue my passion. I do not consider myself an expert so what follows is merely an opinion. However, it is my deepest hope that these words help inspire and excite your own desires.

What If I am not Inspired?

The answer is simple: Get Inspired.

 

The truth, nobody is always inspired. Not me and probably not the artists you aspire to, who craft ingenious masterpieces. Passionate individuals are especially cursed as the waves of up and down swing greater than average. The exhilarating high that you get from creating invariably leads to a resounding low or a disappointment when the latest project fails to meet your expectations.

What separates artists who stand out from those that fade away is perserverence – the ones who continually innovate and create in spite of any challenging obstacles.

Untitled

How to get inspired?

Everyone has his or her own way of getting inspired. Personally, I believe the best way to become inspired is live life. Get out there, meet new people, and listen. Everybody has a unique story, and more often than not, these tales can trigger emotions which may inspire you.

 

For instance, the image below shows the outcome of meeting with a fan for coffee and a brainstorming session. While chatting, she slowly opened up to a burden of pain and sadness brought on from the death of loved ones. The raw emotion transformed into a concept, which grew into a photo shoot. There was no way I could have discovered this idea alone. Yet, by taking a chance, meeting new people and listening, I was able to reveal empathy and facilitate healing with a creative twist.

 

Chester vonwong

Collaboration with Chester Van Bommel via artsome.be

Alternatively, looking within can also yield surprising results. I have always found emotions to be a great muse for creativity. Heartbreaks in particular have always been an impressive source for innovation. It is not easy, you have to force yourself to get up in the morning and focus on transcribing your emotions into art. Once you get into motion, you will be amazed at the things that you can accomplish. For it is useless to remain fixated on something that cannot change.

While being in this state can be absolutely fantastic for creativity, chances are you probably don’t want to spend your time in permanent heartbreak. The key, I believe, is to learn how to experience that same burst of creativity while in a state of happiness and peace.

Whatever your case may be, whether you have the strength to believe in yourself or not, inside of you lies the key to unlocking your inspiration. You just have to look for it.

Vonwong self

Still not inspired?

Start to surround yourself with passionate individuals.

 

There is something incredibly infectious about a person who is passionate about what they do. Find people that relentlessly strive to perform and succeed because their drive and dedication to persevere will rub off on you too.

I recently crowd-funded a tour to travel through Europe and had the opportunity to meet up with some of these very passionate individuals. One instance was putting together a shot for Dave Reynolds, the director of the Underwater Realm. At 26 years old, Dave not only gathered an entire crew of people to shoot a series of underwater shorts probono, crowd funded over a 100,000$ for his project, but also developed new equipment and techniques to facilitate the whole process of shooting underwater.

7338909198 854b6284ce b

Another moment was meeting with Andrey DAS, one of the pioneers of fire breathing in Paris, France. He had spent the last 9 years of his life building a community of pyrotechnicians and developing new spitting techniques to share with those around him at no profit whatsoever.

7298103558 b714f489cd b “Epic Pyrotechnician” – Behind the Scenes Video

Both artists find inspiration in art. They have an innate drive to push the boundaries and use their talents to the fullest potential. Concepts and ideas thrive in teams, and those who dare to dream can help make yours come true.

Alright! I got this. I have the most brilliant idea ever. Now what?

Convince the people you want to participate in the project that your idea is undeniably the most brilliant idea ever! A couple tips that can help you along the way:

  • Believe in your project. People pick up on that passion and drive. If your eyes are shining with enthusiasm and confidence that this is THE project of the year, people will get hooked onto that. If you’re confident in your project’s success, let it show.
  • Show a good track record. Showcase past projects that have yielded good results. It does not matter if the projects are slightly unrelated; people are looking for proof that you won’t be wasting their time. If you happen to be starting out and don’t have very much to show then consider starting small. Build that track record.
  • Make it about them. While your projects might be amazing, people are going to want to know what’s in it for them. In creative collaborations, people are donating their time and talent and will be expecting something in return. Whatever you’re offering, whether it be a unique experience or a portfolio piece, make sure you emphasize what they will gain from their involvement.
  • Delegate. It can become overwhelming when there are too many pieces to hold together. Try to delegate responsibilities, give people additional tasks to help you with the project. Not only will this lighten your own workload, it will also make people feel included and acknowledged.
  • Follow up. Although people may become enthusiastic about your project you have to remember that you are the glue holding the whole thing together. Make sure you follow up with your fellow artists to make sure they are still on board. It is your duty to keep that excitement going. Let them be aware of the progress to keep the momentum alive.

Vonwong knights artisans dazure “Les Artisans d’Azure” – Behind the Scenes Video

Last few words…

I hope that these words will inspire you. I think that the key to starting something is to simply start it. People have the tendency of doing things “later” and they never get done. If you have an idea in mind, give yourself a deadline and make it happen. Don’t worry about making it perfect right off the bat… you will make mistakes, guaranteed! You will also fail at some point in time, so accept that reality and try anyways. Whatever it is you want to do in life, start today. Don’t wait until you’re old and your life becomes a series of should haves.

 

 

Old love ballerina cute vonwong couple “Ballerinas from the National Slovak Theater” – Behind the Scenes Video

Learn more on…

  • Blog: www.vonwong.com/blog
  • Youtube: www.youtube.com/thevonwong
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/vonwongphotography
  • 500px: www.500px.com/vonwong
  • Twitter: www.twitter.com/vonwongphotoSpecial thanks to Kara Jeffery for helping me proof-read this article ! :)

 

  • http://www.furnarius.net Ramón Casares

    Very nice, Ben, a recommended read. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I appreciate.

  • levitte

    The introduction of that video clip… deep! It’ll stick with me, thank you.

    • http://www.vonwong.com Ben

      hey guys glad you enjoy the words :) It was my pleasure

  • Pingback: Inspiration: An Interview with Von Wong by Von Wong | Fstoppers

  • Andre DF

    Very cool Ben, thanks for this. Mised an opportunity to say Hi at McNally’s seminar this summer. Let me know if you need an extra assistant on anything.

  • http://www.danphoto.ca Dan Lalande

    Hey Ben, If ever you need and intern, let me know. I’d be more than happy to go there for a specific period of time and give you a hand with whatever you need. I just feel out of the loop… creatively speaking that is.

    Dan

  • http://www.andreanefraser.com Andreane Fraser

    Ben, you are one of my inspiration. You are so creative, energetic and so passionate about what you do, and when I look at your work, I keep thinking that I need to step over my fear of asking people to work with me, and just do it otherwise, I will always wonder what it “could” have looked like. I have tons of good ideas but never know where to start. Thanks for sharing this, it was awesome and are simply brilliant. I would definitely be interested in workshops with you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AngelShine2011 AngelShine SPhotography

    Awesome as always.:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ralph.keating.10 Ralph Keating

    Ben, Thank you. I’m always on the lookout for WOW, and I found it here!

  • Pingback: Dennis Stamatoiu Photography

  • Eli Urena

    Love the Video and all of your work!!!

  • http://www.JVLphoto.com Justin Van Leeuwen

    Definitely interested in a workshop – I’m in Ottawa and Montreal is an easy train ride. I admire your work and see a similarity in our style, though mine is not nearly as polished or creative, and I’d love to learn a bit more… but I suppose from an advanced level, not a “this is a strobe and I use it to make light” perspective.

  • Pingback: Past the end of the world, into 2013 | Benjamin "Von Wong" | Montreal Photographer

  • Pingback: The magic behind the Underwater Realm

  • Pingback: Ben Von Wong » Mystic Seminars – Photography Workshops – wedding – portrait – photographers

  • Pingback: Von Wong – Inspiration, Transitioning from a 9-5 and life! by TheVonWong | Heath Hurwitz's Blog

  • Jay Scott

    This is getting clipped to my Evernote Inspiration folder for regular review right now. You are so open to us, Ben. that freeness with who you are is as inspiring as anything. Thank you for continually putting out top quality work with very helpful BTS content.

    I’m going to get you to Saskatchewan next year. :)