Where to find some decent inspso…? it’s a question I ponder as I sit chained to my work desk doing (cough cough) “important” non photography related work that pays the bills.
The last two and a half years have been hard. Really hard. Most of us have been locked in, jabbed, sick, locked in again, jabbed again, home schooling kids while locked in, smashed with constant bad news in the media and driven crazy by elections and politicians and job insecurity and financial stress. It’s been rough. For me, photography has been one of my key coping mechanisms over the last couple of years. I’ve spent a lot of time taking photos in my back yard with my old 35mm cameras in the last couple of years. It hasn’t been cheap, with the price of film through the roof at the moment, but my sanity is worth the money.
But, even us snap happy camera nerds can hit the doldrums sometimes and need a bit of inspiration to keep our spirits up and to renew the creative energy. So I thought I’d do a few quick articles on where I find my inspiration when I need a little pick me up.
This article is focussing on youtube. Like many I’ve spent a lot of time working from home in the last couple of years and have been hitting youtube pretty regularly (only in my work breaks if anyone from my work is reading this….) and I’ve been getting acquainted with some great youtube photography content.
Photography youtubers seem to love doing lists of their top cameras, top films, top 5 reasons to buy an old camera (thanks Mattias, I really enjoy those) and so on. So I thought I’d do a list of my top 10 photography youtubers who I really enjoy watching when I need a little photographic inspiration –
Lone Shootr (note no E in “shooter”) – One of my favourite content creators. Shootr talks about photographic philosophy, gear, the ups and downs of professional photography, creativity and a raw discussion on the psychological impact of getting through the pandemic as a professional photographer. The Shootr focuses on a great mix of photographic mediums from 35mm to medium format to digital. https://www.youtube.com/c/loneshooterz
T.Hopper – This channel always makes me happy. Tatiana focusses on analogue photography. Her “Silver Screen” series is beautiful. If I’m having a rough day or feel that my photography is stagnant, or if I’m just struggling to find the motivation to pick up my Spotmatic then I’ll sit down and watch one of Tatiana’s episodes. My favourite so far is the episode she made on Jason Lee. https://www.youtube.com/c/THopper
Kyle McDougal – I really like Kyle’s laid back style and am a huge fan of his photography. Kyle focusses on analogue photography with a good mix of gear talk, film tests, creativity and inspiration as well as really helpful episodes on basic photography tips and scanning film. I really enjoy Kyles “Creative Inspiration” play list. https://www.youtube.com/c/KyleMcDougall
King Jvpes – Now, I’m not into street photography and I know this might rankle some people. I am just not keen on walking around and taking photos of random people. Hey, if that’s your thing then that’s great but it aint my bag baby. But, King Jvpes is one street photography youtuber that I really enjoy watching. I think it’s his laid back, humble and non-pretentious style that I really connect with. When I watch a King Jvpes youtube I feel like I’m hanging out with a good mate shooting the photographic breeze. Jvpes photography is kick ass also. Those who are part of that special breed of photographers known as the “Minolta Gang” will especially enjoy content by King Jvpes. https://www.youtube.com/c/KingJvpes
Steve O’Nions – I’m a bit of a Nikon nerd. I’m quite polyamorous with my gear and have gear from a variety of brands but I do love my old Nikon F80. So, in true nerd fashion I started watching Steve O’Nions content because he also uses a Nikon F80. And boy, does he know how to use that old Nikon! Steve’s content is focussed on landscape photography taken around the beautiful Welsh countryside with a variety of gear from micro four thirds digital gear to large format film kit and, close to my heart, his trusty Nikon F80. Watching Steve’s content makes me want to pick up the F80 and go for a long walk. https://www.youtube.com/c/SteveONions
Mattias Burling – Mattias lives mostly on the dark side of digital photography but he also dips into the world of analogue every now and then. While analogue is my first love, digital is part of the modern open relationship I have with my photographic gear. And, if you are like me and don’t want to drop thousands and thousands of dollars on the newest mirrorless pro camera and restrict your deviant digital tendencies to cheap old kit then Mattias is your man. The magic he gets out of cheap old digital cameras is truly astounding. https://www.youtube.com/c/mattiasburling
Lucy Lumens Analog Adventures – I’m a bit biased here, being a fellow Queenslander I have a special patriotic place in my heart for Lucy Lumen. Lucy’s content is always colourful, fun and inspirational. I really enjoy watching Lucy take great photos around the Gold Coast with old 35mm cameras. Lucy focusses a lot on how to enjoy photography with affordable gear and film, she makes some real magic with some pretty basic but good quality kit. I’d thoroughly recommend that you give Lucy Lumens Analog Adventures a go, you won’t be disappointed. https://www.youtube.com/c/LucyLumensAnalogAdventures
David Hancock – David has a beautiful lyrical and poetic way of talking about photography. It doesn’t matter if he is talking about the driest and most mundane aspects of photography, his style and delivery just reels me in and keeps me captivated. He almost convinced me to go and buy a Pentax MZ-S (I’m still on the fence there…) and has now gotten me hooked on the idea of buying a Minolta A9, two cameras I never had any intention of ever owning before I watched his youtube channel. David’s content is pure analogue photography heaven, full of nerdy technical gear talk as well as photographic philosophy and creativity focussed episodes. If you haven’t checked out David’s content yet then you are really missing out, this guy is the bom diggity. https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidHancock
Shutter Slaps – Another fellow Aussie, Slaps is a laid back and really enjoyable content creator with a great mix of analogue and digital photography content. His style is fantastic, with a nice relaxing and really creative delivery that makes every episode enjoyable. Slaps is another great photographic content creator who is gear focussed but uses his gear reviews as a great medium to talk about photographic philosophy and creativity and the pure joy of going out and shooting old kit and getting that moment that you see in your mind recorded on film or on the sensor forever. I especially enjoyed his most recent episode on the Nikon F4S. I’ve put the link here to that episode. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpXK64mM6iY
Snappiness – I have a special bond with my fellow Pentaxians and Snappiness, also known as James, is my favourite Pentaxian on the net. James mixes his content between reviews of old and new gear and has a mix of analogue and digital and throws in his mountain biking and hiking photography adventures into the mix for good measure. While James is a Pentaxian through and through he also gives the other manufacturers a lot of love. The focus is mainly on gear but like Shutter Slaps, the gear reviews are really a gateway into philosophy and creativity and an avenue into discussing photographic inspiration. James has a great style and is an absolute joy to watch. https://www.youtube.com/c/snappiness
Well, that’s it. That’s my top ten list of photography youtubers. I could go on and put another couple of dozen content creators on the list but you’d get bored and lose interest. So, if you are sitting around and feeling a bit indifferent about your photography or the state of the world and need a little youtube inspo then check out some of the channels on this list. Hopefully there is something there that can brighten up your day and put a tingle in your chest that makes you want to pick up a battered old camera and make some magic. Oh, and do me a solid and check out your local photographic content creators and give them some love and support.
Rooster AKA “The Old Camera Nerd”.