Inspired by Masters


The picture above is from a beautiful book my friend Barb sent me awhile back. It is filled with the gorgeous photography of Art Wolfe, a Washington State native who has been inspiring photographers for years. I’ve been reading this book most everyday and so it sits on my coffee table. I’ve been looking at the cover image daily and have actually become rather obsessed with it. I wanted to try and take a picture like that myself, but of course Seattle isn’t filled with fishermen wearing bamboo hats carrying a basket full of fish so I thought, maybe I could take the idea and make is smaller. I have a bamboo steamer so I figured maybe if I found some very small fish I could create my own still life based on this inspiration.


At the seafood store I found Smelt, a tiny little fish that is often breaded and fried, a dish called ‘fries with eyes’ because the entire fish, bones and all, are edible. Now, I’ve had smelt fries before, they taste fine, but I must admit, having your food look back at you is a bit un-nerving! However, as a prop they fit nicely in my little bamboo steamer so my dream of creating my own take on Art’s image has been fulfilled!


Of course once the one image was out of my head and in the camera, I had to keep going. This is where I have the advantage over Art. His was an image of the moment. I’m guessing he couldn’t stop the fisherman and ask if you could take more pictures of his lovely fish for the next hour or so!


This project was a lot of fun and the next time I order ‘fries with eyes’ I will remember my photo shoot with smelt!

I have to thank my dear friend Barbara Hurst again for sending me this book. Her work has also been a source of inspiration for me. Her still life portraits and her processing is a feast for the eyes. If you aren’t already familiar with her work, check out her blog HERE. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.

As you read this Brian & I are vacationing in San Diego. We will be there a week, then off to Long Beach where I will be meeting up with dear friends and women photographers for a couple of days of picture-taking inspiration. Hopefully I will have some fun images and stories to share with you in a future post.

In the meantime, thanks so much for stopping by. Have a beautiful week.


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About Carol

Thank you in advance for respecting my art. All the images and text posted to this blog are owned my me and protected by copyright law. Copying any of the content here without permission is against the law and you know, not cool. Many thanks again.
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12 Responses to Inspired by Masters

  1. So fun to see the interpretation and inspiration of these, I am so glad you liked the book and it gave you some fun minutes with your camera. That just makes my day knowing I have given you a gift that inspired you to do these. I remember smelt from my Dad bringing them home and as you said that was the reason I never liked this fish but they do make for a pretty prop. Aren’t we something to think of fish as a prop? Looking forward to seeing you at Gather, one of the highlights of this get together with Kim.

  2. seabluelee says:

    Carol, as soon as I read, “Seattle isn’t filled with fishermen wearing bamboo hats carrying a basket full of fish,” I thought of a steamer basket. I swear I hadn’t scrolled down far enough to see your photos! What an unusual subject for a still life photo shoot…but your images are beautiful. The curves of the steamer are the perfect “nest” for the graceful, silvery little fish. You did your Art Wolfe inspiration proud!

  3. Sarah says:

    Great interpretation with your photo. I love it. Plus bonus shots all the better. Have a great time in California.

  4. Cheryl says:

    You did such a great job channeling the book cover…I would never have been able to do that…the smell of the fish would have gotten to me and I’m not sure I could of looked at their little eyes…LOL
    Have fun on your trip.

  5. Dotti says:

    I’d say you did quite well! Although I’m with you … there is something unnerving about having your food look at you. Enjoy your week and Gather!

  6. Sheri says:

    Love your translation of the pic—very imaginative!

  7. Sherry G. says:

    That is a brilliant interpretation of Wolfe’s image. Would never have thought to do that but I love it! AND I love smelts. They are so delicious. I remember eating them as a kid. Not so often now, but once in a while…

  8. Melinda says:

    Wow! What an amazing, creative spin on the cover photo! Beautifully done!

  9. Becca says:

    What a beautiful book, and I love your interpretation. I love trying new food, but I’m thinking I might have to close my eyes to eat one, so I don’t see them staring back at me! Have a lovely trip! You are missing the sunshine, although it’s VERY cold now, so I’m sure you won’t miss that! Take care

  10. Love your take on the shot. I think we call the fish whitebait on the UK I’m a bit squeamish about eyes looking at me… I’m so looking forward to seeing your Gather photos…

  11. Roxi says:

    I just love this! The fact that you went to the trouble to make this happen speaks a lot of your adventurous spirit. Have fun at Gather.

  12. Beverly says:

    Your “from above” and the lighter background is just beautiful! I can see it in a frame at a seafood restaurant! I always admire your creativeness Carol! So sweet of Barbara to give you an inspiring photography book! Gather is over (I’m late commenting), but I look forward to what you have to share from that great event!

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