5 Talks Every Photographer Must Watch


Sarang Naik shares some inspiring videos talks on photography and creativity.

I have always loved watching thought provoking talks and lectures by interesting people as they give me a glimpse into how they think and work. These talks become great sources of ideas and inspiration that you can put to use in your own life.

As far as photography goes, there are five talks in particular that I find extremely insightful and useful. Two of them are not exactly related to photography but to art as a whole. Also note that all these videos are quite long but, trust me, they are absolutely worth every minute. Here they are, in no particular order:

Creativity with John Cleese
This is perhaps the most important, in depth and funniest video on creativity that you will ever see. John Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer, best known as the co-founder of the surreal comedy group Monty Python.

In this talk from 1991, Cleese shares his observations on how creative people function. He explains the five factors to make your life more creative. His ingenious philosophy has great implications for photographers and it will probably change the way you approach any creative pursuit for good.

Creative Mornings with Zack Arias
Zack Arias is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia who is also known for his workshops and his ability to connect with all types of people. In this talk, Zack explains the importance of being brutally honest to yourself and your community.

He shares his personal story of ups and downs that led him to the philosophy he lives by today. It’s a great lesson in humility and in being true to who you are.

Mickey Smith: Do Trust in the Things You Love
Michael Lee Smith is a British surf photographer and filmmaker. His life story is like something out of an adventure movie: at the age of 16, he left home and embraced a life on the road. He always followed his heart and instincts, doing whatever odd jobs he can find to fuel his passion of documenting waves and surfers.

He finally managed to convert his passion into a profession and settled down on the West Coast of Ireland. Here, the untimely death of his sister compelled him to make a short film ‘Dark Side of the Lens’. This film made him famous overnight and won him several awards.

In this video from the ‘Do Lectures’ series, Mickey talks about his whole life story and give some handy tips on how to live creatively. I think a lot of people connect with his story because, in our heart, we all with to live as he has, boldly and freely following the muse, wherever it may lead.

Neil Gaiman: Make Good Art
Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His best selling works include Enter Sandman, Coraline and Stardust among others.

Here, Neil delivers a keynote address for the 2012 graduates of the University of Arts, Philadelphia. It is 20 minutes of personal, uplifting and indispensible life advice mixed with a healthy amount of humour. Neil, quite comically explains why we should keep making what we consider as good art without giving any excuses.

But perhaps the most important advice he gives (and which he himself received from the renowned writer, Stephen King) is to enjoy your work. In the effort of trying to make money from it or to make it better, we often forget the most basic thing: to enjoy what we are doing. Neil’s words act as a constant reminder for me to always love every moment of image making that I’m involved in.

Ryan Lobo: Photographing the Hidden Story
Ryan Lobo is an award winning photographer and filmmaker based in Bangalore. In this talk at the 2009 TED Conference, he speaks about compassionate storytelling with photography and shares the stories behind his critically acclaimed works.

For years, Ryan has been on a mission to break down stereotypes, change perceptions and “focus on what’s dignified, courageous and beautiful”. This video gives an insight into what it takes to constantly go out in conflict zones and tell stories with compassion and empathy.

I hope you find these videos as helpful and inspiring as I did. If there are any other video talks you love then do share them in the comments.

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: Philosophy, Ryan Lobo, inspiration, ideas, lectures, VIDEOS, Creativity, Sarang Naik, Talks, John Cleese, Mickey Smith, Neil Gaiman, Zack Arias, speech, insightful, 5 Talks Every Photographer Must Watch