The Inspiration of Doing

by Troy Colby

I have been thinking and going over this blog all week. I keep coming up with nothing for the most part. Or if I do it doesn’t lead to much. So I guess why not write about the pursuit of trying to find inspiration.

When I first started the BFA program. My first class laid out the rules of what not to shoot, toys, kids, animals and flowers. I am sure I am missing a few things. My gut reaction was, “what in the world am I suppose to do?” I was naïve, new and a bit stupid in the end. I really don’t remember what image it was that they used as a reference to what is good. But I do remember thinking, “I don’t get it! That is just a person standing there. It looks like anyone could have done this.” As I advanced I started finding inspiration in looking at work on Flickr and through Google searches. In doing so I would become inspired and go out and make something. This worked for a few years but quickly faded away. I started viewing more and more works of art by those who were at the top of their game at any given point in their career.

It was the work of Michael Garlington and Loretta Lux that opened the door on what a camera could do. “You mean I can make things and capture it with the camera?” I guess I had always thought of the camera as a tool that told the truth. What we saw on the image was exactly what was in front of the camera. The camera became a paintbrush in ways for me. This is still one of the reasons I love photography, the camera can lie and still tell the truth.

Our Falling World.jpeg

Needless to say I was inspired. The ideas and visual influences became noticeable in my work. Then I noticed I started shifting more and more to other influences, such as more conceptual work by the works of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison.  I started thinking back to how I was so naive for thinking that image at the first of my studies was boring and nothing to offer past its exterior.


My list of influences keeps growing.  For me there is a hunt in finding new work and artists.  Maybe I am searching to be inspired?  I have often wondered this.  Or is a case of me being in love with great work?  I would dare to say both.  The further I get in my education the more I am able to understand the creative process and the visual image. 

One thing is for sure sitting around and waiting for inspiration to strike just doesn’t happen.  Just like this little blog, sounds so easy at first.   But after five days of thinking I still had nothing.  As soon as I turned up the music, forced myself to be a part of the moment and just start typing.  I was able to come away with something.  In the end I am reminded, that I have to take that first step for something to happen.  In doing so all of those visual references from photography, life and even film start to come alive.  This passion for creating and the love of making things wakes up and allows inspiration to happen.


1.   Michael Garlington

2.   Troy Colby

3.   Robert Shana ParkeHarrison

4.   Troy Colby