Inspiration from the past – follow up

On June 4, 2012 by Simon Fleming

Nearly 3 years ago I wrote a blog post called “Inspiration from the past” (see below) in which I mentioned that I hoped to meet one day, one of the main sources of inspiration and influence to me photographically (honestly never thought it would happen). As per a recent blog I did, not only did I get to meet him but then also got to spend another four days in Tasmania on an assignment with him. I thought it worthwhile reposting my blog from 2010…

Joe's Nat Geo

I grew up reading National Geographic as my dad had an ongoing annual subscription to the magazine. I didn’t always understand the stories but I was always amazed & inspired by many of the images, even at a very young age.

In recent years as I have started to rediscover my love of photography I have made many uncanny connections to things in my past. In particular photography/photographers whose images made an impact on me in one way or another. For example, I didn’t necessarily take note of the photographer of a particular image at the time but that image, and the story behind it, firmly etched themselves into my memory – and then many years later I discover that a photographer whom I admire today is that same guy behind the lens of that particular image – and many others I have yet to make the connection with I’m sure. It has got me going back through lots of old magazines & books and looking at everything again with fresh eyes & fresh ideals.

One particular photographer who I would love to meet one day is Joe McNally – an American photographer who has shot for virtually all the famous magazines of substance out there including National Geographic plus a tonne of other great stuff including his own private work. Below is a short video of some of the behind the scenes work of his to get an image of a light bulb being changed on the very highest point of the Empire State building for the National Geographic story “The power of light”. It is worth taking to the time to watch this and make sure you watch till the end – amazing stuff. Bear in mind too that this was shot on film, before digital was mainstream & Photoshopping was used to deal with ‘unforeseen issues’ – you had to get it all done right at point of camera. It is quite amazing to see what goes into the making of some of these brilliant images.

Joe is amongst many people I draw inspiration from, but he is a standout to me not just as a great photographer but also as a great human being – I highly recommend reading his blog (if you aren’t one of the millions already).

As well as the video, here is a link to a blog of Joe’s from 2009 talking about this event as well as a number of other jobs involving crazy heights. Getting High



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