Photographers who inspire me ~ #3 ~ “RAX” Ragnar Axelsson

There are many photographers who inspire me.

Most often, it is their photographs from which I draw the inspiration. Sometimes I am influenced by their philosophies of workflow, technique or craftsmanship. Occasionally inspiration will flow from how they choose to live their creative life.

Whatever their uniqueness, each in their own way have added something to my own journey as a landscape photographer.

From time to time, I would like to share these photographers with you here, so that you too have the opportunity to discover and be inspired by them.

~~~

:: “RAX” Ragnar Axelsson

I would describe Ragnar Axelsson as a photographer’s photographer.
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Creativity and the Photographer

Some thoughts…

I am wondering, what is creativity? And, what can we do to become more creative photographers?

Of course, there are no easy formulas. And this short post can not even start to answer such profound questions. However, I think there are a few ideas which can help us. Let me share two. But first, some context.

Over the last few years I have been on a journey into photography. Like many people, I have been trying to discover and develop my creative side. I have always enjoyed building, crafting and making things, particularly photographs.  And while these are often seen as ‘creative’ activities, the simple act of making something, does not, by default, mean we have been or are creative. Making things can be very functional, lacking in any creativity.

Many people speak of creativity using nice woolly words like soul, mood, passion, feeling and spark. And yes, these are all great words to wrap around the concept of creativity,  however they are not particularly helpful in giving us some real goalposts to aim at.

For me, creativity implies that we have created or added ‘something extra’. It is that bit of ‘magic’ which will occasionally take what we make and transport it to a special place.

Here are two things I have learnt which have help me to understand what creativity is and how to find it.

Mamiya 7II / 80mm / Velvia 50 Film
Mamiya 7II / 80mm / Velvia 50 Film

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Why Photography?

What is it about photography which draws me into its real with such gusto and passion.
I sometimes ponder this question because I feel like I need to find my own answer.  Yet a satisfactory answer always seams out of reach to me.  I feel as if im searching for something along my photographic  journey. Most people will not understand and some might think me odd.  However I think it very normal. In fact I think most people search for answers in life. Some find it in religion or philosophy, some in helping others, some people find it in careers and work, others search yet never find and a few get lost along the way in alcohol and drugs. Yet many people, perhaps most people,  search for something. For some reason my search has taken me down a path of photographing natures landscapes and beautify. We are all different.
Photographing a landscape brings a sense of balance into my life. It for fills many needs in me;  a need to build and create something,  a need to be closely in touch with those things in life which are real and natural;  I think it is a counter balance to what can be a  very artificial and unnatural world in which we live and work. Photography fills a need in me to escape and have time-out… time for me. It for fills a yearning to wander, explore and discover. It for fills a need in me to say “Hey, our world is not all bad”  in fact it is a very beautiful and good world in which to live in. It for fills a need to leave a mark on the world after I am gone, that somehow my beautiful photographs are evidence that I was here and I had something to say and to share with others. My life is not just about work and play, there was something more.
Sometimes I look at people I know,  who to me appear to be very shallow and have no depth in their life. They appear to be happily living lives I see as very superficial. One side of me is envious. However I could never live a life so wafer thin. I need depth, it is my keel and my compass.

What is it about photography which draws us into its realm with such passion.

I ponder this question often. I don’t know about you,  but I feel like I need to find my own answers. You might like to share your own thoughts below.

So far,  a satisfactory answer always seems out of reach to me.  I feel as if I am searching for something unknown along my photographic journey; that the journey has some kind of purpose.

Many people will not understand and some might think me odd. However, I think it is very normal.

 

Mamiya 7II / Velvia film / Canada, British Columbia.

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Kurt Mottweiler’s ~ hand built, wood and brass pinhole camera.

It started as a modest drawing in Kurt Mottweiler’s sketchbook. It became a beautiful bespoke instrument;  The P.90, a hand crafted lensless, medium format camera made from a blend of cherrywood, custom made brass and other carefully chosen materials.

The P.90 is a very limited edition camera designed by an artist, for artists. A work of art with which to make art. However, it is also a camera designed to be used, where function meets a beautiful aesthetic for a memorable picture making experience.

The craftsman is Kurt Mottweiler.

From his Oregon studio workshop Kurt makes his hand built cameras with love and passion. They will no doubt become valuable collector items over time; much like an early Leica. Perhaps they will become the ‘Stradivarius’ of pin hole cameras?

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