Inspire 2016 Speaker Robert Norman - The Travel Bug

In this series of blog posts we are introducing people who are speaking at and attending Inspire 2016. Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Norman of Robert Norman Photography who will be leading a workshop on Photography and the Encaustic Process

The travel Bug

One thing I've always tried to do to keep my photography and state of mental health fresh, is to travel and photograph outside of the realm of weddings. I've always found that this was not only soul refreshing, but a great respite from the hustle and bustle of the weekly wedding world.

Last November I had a unique opportunity to travel to China and Japan, with a good friend of mine who is living there for work. We went there to visit her and to get the grand tour of her corner of China. We visited Shanghai, Beijing, and then flew to Japan for two days. These locations were never really on my radar as places to visit, as they seemed like distant fantasies or "places other people visit”. Nevertheless I found myself on the long 14 hour flight to Shanghai!

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to travel abroad I truly can't recommend it enough, yet even a local adventure can be just as effective!  The act of leaving and getting out of your comfort zone into an entirely different culture or area is incredibly eye-opening. No matter where I go or how long I stay I always come back with fresher eyes and more intense feelings about what I see and how I view the world in general. As crazy as this may seem, these experiences also translate into my daily business, commercial and wedding work.

In Julia Cameron's book The Artists Way’ she recommends you give yourself a weekly ‘art date’, meaning you do something strictly for yourself whether it's go to the library, hear someone speak, or go to a museum. You do this all for the sake of enriching your creative soul. Travel for me (when time allows!) solves that problem and foreign travel does it best because of how it completely removes me out of my comfort zone.

Going into a wedding or portrait session with what I call my ‘mental storehouse of images’ has always been incredibly important to me. Taking trips like this only add to that bank of imagery and supplies me with experiences and visuals that I can draw from all year long. It's SO refreshing to go on a trip such as this and make images simply for the sake of creating. You’re not shooting for anyone else or for any grand scheme other than to satisfy the urge you have at that given moment in time. Sure, some of the photos were touristy and silly, but my goal all along was to try to capture what I was seeing not only remind myself of what I saw but to bring the experience and emotion I had while there back for everyone else. 

In the most simplistic fashion, isn't that really what we're doing when we photograph a wedding or event? We arrive there as a bit of an outsider to see the event from our slightly removed point of view, absorbing what's happening, documenting it and presenting it back in an artistic and emotional matter. Weddings, portraits, children and families can be so safe and so predictable. Do yourself (and clients) a favor this season and really try and go somewhere no matter how close to home, to see or do something you normally wouldn't and see where takes your art…Get going!