The Finite Project

Creative Inspiration 3


Creative Inspiration 3
Film stills, Instagram accounts, & a few more books.

In this addition of Creative Inspiration, I’ll be going through some of my favorite stills from three gorgeous films, three Instagram accounts that I think are worth following, and three novels that hit me hard. It’s been another couple months since I last did one of these, and I like the idea of writing a new one up every quarter or so. What do you think? I always have a great time making these, as they are filled with things that really do inspire me creatively. None of these things are on here because I necessarily want to inspire you in a certain way, they are just things that have inspired me personally. For the film stills, I wish there was a better way to find them, because the internet only has so many, and the quality is usually awful. I picked my favorites from what’s available to me, but I do wish I could just sit and watch each film from start to finish to find all of my favorite shots. As for the Instagram accounts, my list is obviously very long, but the three I chose stood out to me immediately for this post. I’ve been immensely inspired by all three of them lately, so definitely check them out if you can. Lastly, the books. Do you guys enjoy hearing about the books I’m reading? I have to say, it’s an enjoyable part of the process for me, but if you guys couldn’t care less, I don’t want to bore you! For this post, I chose books that are recent to me, but also overflowing with feeling. All three are a little sad now that I think about it, but what books aren’t? Don’t answer that. Ok let’s go.


Film Stills

Drive (2011)

Drive is a movie I’ve always had a lot of respect for, and for whatever reason, no one else I know shares that sentiment, haha. WHATEVER. I think it’s a masterfully shot film with just enough cars and drama to be charming, but not enough to be a chase or romance film. Drive fits perfectly into its own box, and I love it for that. Plus, maybe I love Ryan Gosling? All that aside, the cinematography is pristine. The colors are nostalgic and soft, but what really makes this movie shine is its impeccable composition. So much sub-framing, so many reflections, and pretty much every shot fits into a quadrant with a heavy focus on negative space. I love it now just as much as I loved it in 2011, and I’d recommend everyone check it out, at least for a lesson in mind-blowing cinematography.


A Cure for Wellness (2016)

A Cure for Wellness is just a bunch of paintings disguised as a movie. It will encourage you to grab your camera, then smash it to pieces. The movie itself is a psychological thriller that does its job decently, but the real reason to check it out is, again, the unbelievable composition. I mentioned sub-framing in regard to Drive, but A Cure for Wellness uses sub-framing pretty much constantly, and it’s all stunning. Every time a new scene begins, we’re treated to shot after shot of expertly crafted composition, just pleading to be paused and appreciated. While the coloring isn’t usually my cup of tea, those intense greens and blues give the film that creepy, uneasy vibe, and it works.


Midsommar (2019)

This is a slow-burn, psychological horror, and holy hell are the colors pretty. Just look at them. I loved Midsommar, but if you’re not into horror films, especially these weird, kinda indie-type horror films, maybe skip this one. That said, at least go watch the trailer so you can appreciate all of the overexposed, airy lightness that this film seems to love. The skin tones in Midsommar are soft and perfect, and the atmosphere is calm and warm. I think the color palette actually adds to the off-kilter nature of this film. Midsommar is uncomfortable and unsettling, but as a photographer, those tones are to die for… pun intended.



Instagram Accounts

Ian Howorth: @ihoworth

Ian Howorth knows how to set a scene, clearly. His photography resembles the cleanliness, or meticulous mess, of movie sets. The colors he’s able to capture are punchy without being overwhelming. Most of all, the subjects in his photos always feel a little bit mysterious. There’s always something I feel like I should know, but I don’t, and that makes me feel like I’m a piece of the image. Like somehow I live in their universe as a fly on the wall, but they know more about me than I know about them. Ian has an eye worth celebrating, and I can’t wait to see how his future work will make me feel.


Marta Bevacqua: @martabevacqua

It’s hard to peel my eyes away from Marta’s portraiture. I don’t know how she does it, but it feels like her photos sit in a dense atmosphere that has a physical hold on me. It somehow feels heavy and light at the same time, like there’s a question the subjects are waiting for me to answer. Some of my favorite aspects of Ian’s work are echoed in Marta’s, and vice versa. Both of them really know how to create a mood. It’s no surprise Marta doubles as a director. I urge you to scroll and scroll and scroll through her work. Like, now.


Drake’s: @drakesdiary

Drake’s is a menswear brand out of England, and while I think their designs are sharp, their attention to detail in their photography is sharper. They somehow capture this pleasant, unintimidating look that feels genuine, even if it is all just marketing. The candid-style shots are by far some of my favorite, effortlessly pairing happy and cool. Even if you have no plans of ever purchasing any of their garments, make sure to give their photography a peek.


A Few More Books

Flowers for Algernon
by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon is one of many novels I was probably supposed to read in High School but, due to my consistent carelessness toward school, I never did. Strangely, as an adult, I’m happy I never read it as a kid. Many of the books I’ve read this year are of great importance to me, and I don’t think that would be the case if I’d read them a decade ago. The books I do remember reading (The Canterbury Tales, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.), I remember despising because they were forced on me. Maybe I could go back and appreciate them, but I think my visceral reaction to them has tainted them forever. While that’s terribly sad, it makes me happy that countless other works were saved from my disgust, partly thanks to my ignorance as a teen, haha. Anyway, Flowers for Algernon is a thought-provoking masterpiece that I truly fell in love with. It’s technically science fiction, but I hate saying that about books that don’t involve anything extraterrestrial or fantastical. The format / writing style is genius (well, it becomes genius. wink), making it a quick and easy read. This book became an instant favorite of mine. I’ll definitely reread it in the near future. I’m not going to tell you anything about it, because I think that’s the best way to start this book- just dive in.

My favorite quotes:

”A child may not know how to feed itself, or what to eat, yet it knows hunger.”

”The mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.”

”Not yet! I am afraid. Not of life, or death, or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been.”


Norwegian Wood
by Haruki Murakami

Murakami, my guy, always pulling me into his little worlds. Norwegian Wood is a story about nostalgia and loss, from the perspective of a young man in 1960’s Tokyo. For a while, it’s not clear what’s important or throw-away, but as the book goes on, and as the characters develop, the fog starts to clear, and we start to understand. This book is slow and subtle in its approach, but it’s also a lot more straightforward than what I’m used to from Murakami. We basically follow the main character, Toru, as he floats his way through life, dealing with extreme loss, confusion, and loneliness. It’s a coming-of-age story that comes with all the emotions. If you’ve never read Murakami, I’d recommend at least one other novel before this one, as Norwegian Wood doesn’t follow a typical Murakami structure, or include the surrealism he’s so well known for. Kafka on the Shore is my favorite novel by him, but I’m sure many others will do.

My favorite quotes:

”Death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life.”

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

“Letters are just pieces of paper,” I said. “Burn them, and what stays in your heart will stay; keep them, and what vanishes will vanish.”


by Jean-Paul Sartre

I’m really into existentialism, but I know that not everyone is, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. I’ve been meaning to read Nausea for a year now, and I finally just bit the bullet and bought it a couple weeks ago. It’s under two hundred pages, but don’t let its length fool you. You really have to feel this book, not just read through it. Much of it will just come off as rambling nonsense if you’re not paying attention, and even then, the point is to be worked for. I have a LONG way to go when it comes to existentialism, so defining it and going into detail is difficult, so maybe just go read about it like I am. To put it simply, Nausea follows the thoughts and actions of French writer, Antoine Roquentin, as he pretty much muddies his brain with nauseating thoughts of meaninglessness and the futility of life. It’s wacky. Fun fact, Sartre was awarded a Nobel Prize for Nausea, but he declined it.

My favorite quotes:

“There is something new about my hands, a certain way of picking up my pipe or fork. Or else it’s the fork which now has a certain way of having itself picked up, I don’t know.”

“I wanted the moments of my life to follow and order themselves like those of a life remembered. You might as well try and catch time by the tail.”

“All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. In Heaven’s name, why is it so important to think the same things all together.”

If you had the chance to see inside my brain, this is probably most of what you’d find right now. So what do you think? Have you seen any of those films, do you follow any of those accounts, have you read any of those books? Will you? I’d love to know what you’re thinking! As I mentioned, these Creative Inspiration posts are always nice and easy for me to create, so I hope you enjoyed it. That said, I don’t want to overwhelm you guys with recommendations, so I’ll see you in another few months. If you have any suggestions, or some specific art form you’re interested in my opinion on, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I appreciate you. Thank you. I love you. See you next week.

- Zach