Weekly photo challenge: inspiration

Decorative letter box

When the subject of this week’s challenge was published, the subject seemed too vague. Inspiration is all around us. It’s in everything, everyone, everywhere. How do you photograph something that represents everything? The answer is: you don’t. You look for something particular. 

Door furniture interests me. I’m always on the lookout for the decorative details that make the things we need a bit more interesting, such as this oak leaf and acorn letterbox. I spotted it as we were leaving the classic building, now home to the Glasgow branch of Jigsaw, the fashion clothing retailer.

It reminds me we can find inspiration anywhere – or we can walk right on past it.

Though quite discreet, in muted metallic shades, something about it made me stop and reach for my camera. I’m not sure if it’s been there a long time or is a fairly recent addition – I’d guess the latter, though the design and imagery is timeless. It was wrapped around a substantial sandstone doorway and seemed custom made for the space.

Oak leaves and acorns letter box

As I share it, I’m celebrating the designer who imagined it and the shop fitter who cared about the finishing touches that together add up to great branding.

And I’m reminded of the circle of artists and designers we met inside the atrium of the store during our brief visit, each painting his or her take on a scene set out before them to give them inspiration: a starting point for creativity.

A bit of searching online reveals that we’d stumbled on one of the Glasgow School of Art’s workshops: part of the week-long Fashion Cultures event in the city.

Walking round the circle, we could watch something private going on in a public space. Each artist was seeing and drawing the same thing on identical sheets of paper, but expressing it through the prism of what makes them unique. We might call it vision, style or perspective, but character is perhaps a better word.

That’s what we all do, faced with a challenge. That’s why there are so many different answers and approaches. And it’s why I find the weekly photo challenge so much fun. We get a chance to see how others respond in apt or surprising ways to the prompt – this week’s snippet of inspiration.

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