Inspiration: Sam Abell’s A Photographic Life

Whenever I need a dose of inspiration, Sam Abell’s A Photographic Life is my book of choice. He shares his eloquent thoughts and processes through a chronological highlight of his personal as well as professional life. Not only does his photographs move me but also his writing. On page 132-133, two photographs of the same scene are shown in the spread, one taken in the morning and the other at night.

Aran Island, Ireland 1993

I saw the sleeping horse from the roof of an inn where I was reading and taking in the rare sunshine. The scene below looked eccentrically interesting so I made a few photographs. When I moved on I forgot about it.

In the night I awoke and climbed out of the bedroom window to take in the moonlight. The horse was still there. Moonlight transformed the scene. What had looked eccentric in the afternoon now looked mysterious. I climbed back into the bedroom and in the dark put my camera and tripod together.

The night was still—rarer even than sunshine in the Aran Islands—but during the long exposure the horse's head blurred as it nodded off and on. I finished photographing, the horse was still standing there, but in the morning it was gone.

Mr. Abell has taught me to think deeper, to understand and to appreciate the photographic journey. Through his words, I now carry with me a certain consciousness that I was not previously aware of. Whenever I read a few pages from his book, it is enough for me to feel inspired again.