As a creative you likely already have your ‘go-to’ sources for visual inspiration. There’s certainly no shortage of them; from 500px.com to the Atlantic’s In Focus blog, the internet is a massive library of outstanding eye candy. And, like any good library, there are always hidden gems down less-frequented aisles. Here are 5 sources that are a bit off the beaten path – but worth the trip.
This Isn’t Happiness (NSFW)
A self-described “art scrapbook”, thisisnthappiness.com is a delicious blend of art, photography and design, some of it NSFW (not-safe-for-work), all of it visually arresting. TIH acts as curator and cool hunter, presenting words and images in an exceedingly simple Tumblr site. You won’t find sweeping landscapes or perfectly lit portraits here; think of TIH more as raw fuel for your creative process.
A site that many art buyers and directors have in their bookmarks, Feature Shoot is run by photo editor and curator Alison Zavos. The site focuses on commercial and fine-art photography, and is practically guaranteed to lead you to a photographer whose work you’ll end up following for a while. What’s particularly cool about Feature Shoot is that they feature both established photographers, as well as up-and-comers, which leads to a really cool amount of diversity in the showcase.
Rob Haggart is a former Director of Photography for Mens Journal and Outside magazine, and aphotoeditor.com is his brainchild. [I had him on this episode of chasejarvisLIVE a little while back] As curators go, Rob has uncanny eye for finding and posting some amazing work. His reviews of photo books and interviews with photographers are the real meat of the site, however, and they’re worth taking the time to devour slowly. Those of you looking to make it as commercial photographers should also pay close attention to his articles on pricing and negotiating – those are worth paying attention to this site alone.
The web-based offspring of the 20-year-old UK-based Dazed and Confused magazine, dazeddigital.com sits comfortably on the intersection of arts, music, fashion and photography. Visually rich and chock-full of content, if the images and videos don’t inspire you, the words just might do the trick. From interviews with fashion icons to artists to photographers, there’s enough content here to keep you digging for a while. If you want more, the print magazine is now available in iPad format, where $2.99 will buy you a monthly subscription and access to back issues going back to #1, in 1992.
Jen Bekman started 20×200 with the stated goal of “making collecting a more broadly accepted thing.” Her company’s formula was relatively simple: “(limited editions × low prices) + the internet = art for everyone”. What that has resulted in is a cornucopia of visual delight – and a fantastic living for artists who make it onto the site. There’s no doubt that these folks are making a living – a number of pieces in the “New York” category, for example, are listed as “Sold Out.” From an inspiration standpoint, the site is a fantastic tool, allowing you to browse categories and use filters to narrow down your selection. Want to get on the site to sell your own work? Sign up for more info on their page.
Every one of us needs our own source of visual fuel, and this is by no means a definitive list of everything out there that you might not be looking at. What are your favorite sources that we might not have heard of? Sound off in the comments, let us know!