Inspiration, it’s very important for every photographer and artist. Sources of inspiration vary from natural ones to man made. Seeking inspiration from sources of the same field you work in is sometimes dangerous, looking at photographs, if you are a photographer, can lead you to be ‘too inspired’ by them and may cause you to approach ‘imitating’ what you have seen rather than use them as a base to ‘innovating’ new ideas. Thus, depending solely on the work of other photographers can limit your vision rather than expands it sometimes.
Looking for inspiration in other forms of media than your own can be a suitable solution sometimes. Reading, for example, can give you a high level of inspiration since it affect your mind directly and not just your sight. Films are also a great way to get inspired and motivated. The experience of watching a movie affects more than one sense, it therefore may impact you with more force than when looking at still pictures.
Here are 10 movies which I personally found very inspirational and visually cultivating and I highly recommend every photographer to carefully watch and enjoy their visuals.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Not only is this critically acclaimed movie one of the best movies ever made and a winner of 7 Academy Awards including best picture, best art direction and best cinematography, it is also one of the most beautiful films ever made.. visually.
Here is another clip of the movie accompanied with its Academy Award winning music 🙂 :
Natural Born Killers (1995)
Unlike Lawrence of Arabia, this move is not recommended for everybody, at least not for the faint hearted!
If you have a strong stomach and can tolerate its high level of unjustified violence then you will most likely enjoy this visual masterpiece by the great director Oliver Stone.
If you are sure you can take it, here is a clip.. don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Ok, it’s a Japanese Animation (Anime)!
But it’s one of the first big ones and arguably the greatest 🙂
It’s a 2D animation, but executed in a great cinematic fashion. Many ‘real’ films were, and still are, inspired by it.
Like N.B.K., it is not for the faint hearted.. and definitely not suitable for children!
Fight Club (1999)
The scenes of this movie will haunt you for a long time after you watch it! Every time you look around while driving in the street at night you will think “Wow.. this looks like the Fight Club!”
Even shadows act in this movie!
It is in black and white, but every shade between these two colours were used perfectly. Add to the visual greatness of this movie one of the most romantic stories ever written and a true legendary dialogue and you will get a film everyone must see, not only for photographers.
Miami Vice (2006)
What’s so special about this film is that it is shot in a way very similar to the way we photograph using our digital cameras today, wide open with high iso, to get the best of whatever natural light available.
The colours are used in a very expressive manner, you can almost sense the temperature in every scene.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Need I say more!
It’s Geisha! The winner of 3 visual Academy Awards. Simply impressive.
I don’t know if I can call tis film a ‘Documentary’ or if it has another label. To give you an idea of what this film feels like imagine if Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Magnum collaborated to produce a film.. this is how it may look like!
It was shot with 64mm film as an IMAX feature, it has no story, dialogue or narration and was filmed in many different places around the globe. It simply shows you just how tiny you are in this wonderful place called Earth.
Imagine if you have shot a movie using your digital camera set ISO 1600 and then processed every single frame of that movie in photoshop to make it look perfect! This is what 300 is all about.. every single frame is just perfect!
The Matrix (1999-2003)
The godfather of all the great films.. cinematographically wise.. and many other ‘wises’ 🙂
The Matrix films are still one of the most inspirational films ever made, film makers are still getting inspired by them and keep imitating them until today.
You must see The Matrix, and if you already have then you must see it again.. now!
These were my own top 10 visual stunning movies. You might agree with me or disagree, so feel free to add your own 🙂
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