Delle and I were walking around Eastwood, when we passed by the photo exhibit of the prestigious Camera Club of the Philippines. We quickly glanced at some photos and as we skimmed through them, I saw a picture that was vaguely familiar:
I actually passed by it already, but something about it made me come back for a second look. It’s like those moments when you see a person walk by, and you have a nagging feeling you know them from somewhere, but you can’t place where? I took a second look and I realized two things: that one, it was a photo by the late Francis Magalona, and two, that it was the one photo that inspired me to officially start my hobby in photography.
Let’s go back a couple of years. For whatever reason, I was trawling on the internet, and accidentally stumbled on a website with samples of Francis Magalona’s photos. At the time, I didn’t even know he was a photographer. Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to try photography as a hobby, but being a technophobe, I was always overwhelmed by the idea of handling the seemingly complicated SLR. The very idea scared me. I remember being drawn to this one photo, taken in Boracay, with a boat framed by coconut trees. I was beyond belief how someone known more for music, could turn out such a remarkable image! So when I saw this particular picture, I distinctly remember telling myself, “If FrancisM could learn how to take such a stunning photograph, maybe I can too!” In short, I was inspired to take thought and turn it into action. I eventually bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D40x, then a couple of months later I took a basic course on photography, then another class, then another. Before I knew it, I was completely addicted to photography. I never saw that picture again until I ran into it in Eastwood. I didn’t even remember how it looked like. All I remember was that it was a photo by FrancisM, that it had coconut trees in it, and that it was taken in Boracay.
I guess the whole point in all this is INSPIRATION. It’s a funny thing. Who would’ve thought that I’d find inspiration in a photograph by the late master rapper? You’d think I’d find it from a picture by some famed photographer like Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz. Inspiration hits us from out of nowhere, and there’s no way you can predict what and where you’ll find it. But when it hits you, it’s like a spark that ignites a fiery maelstrom. It stirs up something inside of that begs for actualization. I’ve been THINKING of getting into photography for years, but seeing that one photograph pushed me to actually DOING it.
Literally, the word inspiration translates to: “breathed upon”, as in the gods breathing the inspiration upon you, breathing life into your ideas. And there’s something divine in the experience of inspiration. Many people believe that when people create great art, they become mere vessels through which the Divine works. It’s not so much the man, but God working through you, and inspiration is the divine breath that fuels the creation.
Looking back, I owe FrancisM a lot. Had that picture not galvanized my passions, I would still be just daydreaming about an artform that I ended up being so passionate about. Inspiration has everything to do with creativity. It’s the soul that animates craft into sublime art. I’m pretty sure each of the great pieces of art throughout history has it’s own story of how the artist was inspired to create something that stood the ravages of time and taste.
But for regular people like us, inspiration is a true gift. We may not have the output of history’s masters, but it provokes us with an infectious joy to create something that we would look back on with love and pride. And I guess even better, is if you were inspired to create something, that in turn inspired someone else. If what I do inspires even just one human being, even with just a fraction of how FrancisM inspired me, I would consider myself truly blessed. Not so much for the sake of my ego, but to be able to pay forward the generous benefaction that had trickled down to me.
Here’s a link to the photograph in Francis Magalona’s multiply website, A Free Mind: Click HERE.