“Where do you get your inspiration from?” is a question I have been asked a lot recently. I don’t think about where the inspiration comes from when it happens, so it was an interesting question to reflect on. My latest styled photo shoot is an accomplishment for everyone who was involved, and the results are definitely unique. I found myself wondering why I wanted to create these images:
Want to see more? Below is a link to the full gallery!
When I was a kid, I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I wanted to find ancient treasures and travel the world. I’ve watched The Goonies more times than I can count. Adventure and discovery have always driven me. To this day whenever I go on a hike, my eyes are constantly scanning the ground for cool rocks to pick up and examine (I brought a few home from my last trip to Utah actually) - probably because when I was just learning to read my Mom bought me a book on King Tutankhamen - and we read it together every night for a long time. I feel like anywhere I go I have a chance to find something incredible.
This sense of discovery has lead me outside… a lot. As a young boy, I would go on “expeditions” with my friends. We would load up our radio flyer wagons and walk to the park with all of our “equipment” and build forts, dig for treasure, and make maps. As I got older, this turned into hiking and camping, and when I was stuck indoors I worked on landscape paintings. I studied classic works of art and photography in school and fell in love with the adventures they depicted. I was especially fond of Bob Ross - who I always watched on TV when I went to visit at my grandma’s house. “Happy Trees” left a permanent mark on my soul.
In my adult life, I think I found the perfect way to evolve from my childhood inspirations into something that satisfies me at a very deep level - and that is photography. To get inspired, I go for a walk in a new (or beloved) place. Just me and my camera, and sometimes my wife joins me. As I walk, two things happen - my mind wanders, and my eyes scan my surroundings. I love it when my mind wanders - I never know where it will take me. And while my eyes scan - looking for compositional treasure for my next photo shoot, my imagination fills in the blanks with my favorite movie characters and scenes - a wonderful conglomerate of all of the fun memories I have stuffed into my brain over the last 30 years. So I wander and scan. It doesn’t take long before I think of a story I want to tell.
But stories aren’t just told - they are experienced. Which brings me to my ultimate source of inspiration: people. I just love listening to or reading about other people's experiences in life. These are the best stories to tell. The great story of the life we live.
So from King Tut to Bob Ross I cannot help but blend adventure with nature as I tell stories with my camera. If you are looking to get inspired for 2019 - I encourage you to give my methodology a shot: Go for a walk somewhere you can let your mind wander. Remove the distractions from your life temporarily. Soon enough your experiences will begin to paint the canvas.
“A Modern Fairytale”
Shoutout to my fantastic collaborators & sponsors on “A Modern Fairytale”
Bride: Jessica Smith, @iBlondie123
Groom: O’Neil Jones, @alter_ego6
Photography, Set Design, Concept & Direction: Jeff Welt, @jeffwelt
Photography Assistant: Zack Wintrob
Makeup Artist: Amoon Layth, @beautymark_art
Hair Styling: Nikki Morales @nicolemorales_hair
Jewelry: Ben Garelick Jewelers @bengarelickjewelers