Whether a song, a place or even a fellow artist, inspiration can be found everywhere and take any shape. In volume 3 of What’s Inspiring Us, Australian photographer Natalie McComas shares everything fuelling her creative process lately.
Words by Natalie McComas
1. A book
The Swimming Pool by Deanna Templeton. I love how she has captured the feeling of water on your skin and the sensory pleasure of swimming.
2. A poem
This poem (about taking a shower) inspires me to continually look for magic in the tiniest banal, moments of our lives:
By some trick of light
I find I’m showering in silver.
In hundred of light flights
From a crystal planet
Round as the moon
It strews its strange profusion.
I bathe bright with extensive light,
— Doris Brett
3. A podcast
The Unpublished podcast by Amie McNee — Snack-size pep talks on how to live as a creative, work through roadblocks and make the most out of our creativity. (A follow on from her awesome Insta account @inspiredtowrite.)
4. An artist
John Zabawa — The stylistic, graphic way he interprets the world fuels my own creativity. During the first lockdown, John created a project where if you posted him something, he would post you a surprise back. Waiting to see what would arrive in the mail from him was one of the highlights of my lockdown!!
Tinariwen’s desert bluesy music is always on my ‘recently played’ list. Their sounds are immersive… it reminds me of travelling and being enveloped in foreign cultures.
6. A place
Tucson, Arizona. The quirkiest city with cactus forests in the Saguaro National Park nearby. Even though my coastal compass is completely askew there — I love the desert. I notice feeling the same way in the desert as how I feel when I’m in the ocean; present, connected, but small… really small. In awe. Inspired. At mercy.
7. A project
Trent Dalton’s project (which is now a book) Love Stories. Trent spent two months on the streets of Brisbane, sitting at a desk with his typewriter and a spare seat next to him. He only asked that people stop and chat and share a love story. I haven’t gotten my hands on the book yet, but I’ve watched a few interviews with Trent and some of the stories are incredibly touching.
8. A landscape
The hues, the ruggedness, the rawness and even my own nostalgia for the Australian coastal landscape is something I come back to again and again for inspiration. It’s where I was to be in my spare time camping and photographing. I can see many future projects stemming from this…
9. An activity
Making and selling beaded necklaces @_la__ola. The uncertainty of life, work and the world in the last two years has had me craving something I could control. Photography has its limitations, waiting for the right weather, for your subjects to be available, for all sorts of variables to fall into place. Making necklaces has been something I can do anytime and something I have full creative control over. Making with my hands has felt grounding and meditative and it’s feeding my creativity in a new and unique way.
10. A product
My Canon Selphy Printer. This mini printer prints out high quality archival 6×4 prints for a reasonable price. For many years, I’ve felt disconnected with my photography being stuck on the computer and it’s been amazing for me to see my work in hard copy, not only for mapping out ideas, but also for sticking up on my wall to adore.
11. A piece of gear
I get such a thrill from the unexpected quirks of film and using my Hasselblad 500CM – that heavy, clunk sound made by the shutter will never get old. I love how this camera slows me down to be more present in my image-making and the quality of images it produces is second to none.
12. Something unexpected
Being still, being present with sunlight and shadows, shape and form – photographing flowers. This is something that I’m really grateful for from our locked-down days as it’s a practice I may not have explored otherwise. It has been a beautiful way for me to exercise my creative heart.