If you’re looking for motivation and inspiration, following other creators on social media and their blogs can be a great way to feed your soul. Their work keeps you in touch with the beauty others are creating, reminding you what’s possible to you and giving you fuel for your struggle, while their striving shows you that you’re not alone.
Keeping in touch can spark new friendships, new ideas, and new pathways for your life and work. You never know what connecting with another creator might lead to.
I started following photographer Brooke Shaden last November. Her blog, Promoting Passion, is raw and real, and her Facebook posts consistently offer hope and encouragement. She asks thoughtful questions that get the creative wheels turning and shares difficult personal stories that make me feel less alone.
A couple of months ago, Brooke added me to a Facebook group she created that brings together nearly 1,000 creators (mostly photographers) who share their work, their celebratory moments, and their difficulties. It’s a place of beauty and light for all of us. When she announced her Promoting Passion conference in Boone, NC, in October, I knew I had to go. I can’t wait to see what that weekend brings into my life; the simple act of following Brooke has been magical already.
As a result, I’ve encountered a few other fine art and surrealist photographers whose work helps keep me going — check them out:
Images © Brooke Shaden
Brooke creates striking images of women (often herself) in hostile or whimsical natural environments, almost more like figure studies than images of actual people. They feel metaphorical and stylized rather than concrete. They are emotional experiences.
Her work helps me return to the kind of thing I would have created when I was younger — spontaneous, reaching for something but not caring if I found it, dark and in touch with darkness but ever and always reaching for the light. They show struggle but ultimately convey hope.
Images © Rob Woodcox
Rob Woodcox’s work is a whole new world. It’s a steady, light-filled place, full of clarity. It certainly presents its challenges, but there is so much joy in meeting them that you’d hardly notice the obstacles. His photos evoke the freedom and exaltation of creating. Many of his subjects adopt leaping, exuberant postures, and they exude a confident, capable manner.
My friend Jenty posted “Colors of the Wind, White” (the image in the middle) on my wall and it looked like it ought to be the cover of one of my novels, The Flight of the White Crow. A white-haired girl, standing on a precipice, waiting to fly … that’s how I fell in love with Rob Woodcox’s work.
Images © Kindra Nikole
Kindra Nikole’s work has a wild, dramatic spirit that manifests in vivid fairy-tale-style girls in the forest, with caught, still expressions. She experiments with color contrast and explores the visual variety of the outdoors in all seasons. Winter becomes enticing, fall, glowing. She lists influences you might expect: Brian Froud, Jim Henson, J.R.R. Tolkien.
Many of Katharina Jung’s images don’t quite work for me, but the ones that do, really work. I find myself skipping past a lot of them but then being arrested by one or two. Her explorations of flight and her use of birds with human beings captivate me. There’s something endearingly awkward and yet evocative about the way she puts things together. I feel a bit left out of her work, but that’s okay because I am content to peek from around the corner. I’m excited to see what she comes up with as she learns and grows.