Guest Blog Post, Ramy Sidarous: Piecing Together the Puzzle

Ramy SidarousSome words a previous photo professor once said to me really got me thinking about the art I make.

In a certain class I was taking while still in school, I was advised to avoid photographing mountains, since Ansel Adams was already known for doing so. This brought a lot of confusion to me; I thought about it, and all subject matter at one point or another had been photographed before, whether it had been trees, rocks, people…everything had been done. What could be possibly left to photograph?

Brainstorming ideas for creating something new is certainly a challenge that I often face. Looking at the work of other artists and exchanging ideas with them, getting inspired by my surroundings and life are all necessities when thinking of new ideas. Over time, I began realizing that thinking too much about this only prolongs the creativity from flowing; it has to just happen on its own. Allowing the artwork to grow and develop over time is just as important as the idea behind it. An idea may not be completely clear when beginning a new project, but visiting the same piece over and over will open up new ways of thinking about it and will slowly reveal its purpose. It can’t be forced; this is something that has to happen naturally over time. I will sometimes make sketches if I have an idea floating around, but almost 100% of the time, the end result is something unexpected.

Thinking back to what my professor told me, I realized that his comment opened up new ideas on the way that I think about my artwork and how I brainstorm in general. I don’t believe his intent was to keep his students from photographing a specific subject matter, but to have them question why they are photographing it. Even if all the mountains, people, trees, and rocks had been photographed before, there will always be a new way to look at it and perceive it.



Solar Gradient Shade 2012


-Rock Formations 1 2010

16 thoughts on “Guest Blog Post, Ramy Sidarous: Piecing Together the Puzzle

  • February 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Wow! I love these composite photographs! Art is hard these days–seriously what hasn’t been done yet? But these are great ideas and so beautiful! I love your Mountain, and I think Ansel Adams would too!

  • February 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Amazing work, and I love the sky in the last of the three mountain ones. It looks almost surreal, almost like a painting.

    I took a photography earlier in my college career at a community college and I wished our professor had pushed us to think like this. I’m not much of a photographer myself, but it’s an art form I have a lot of respect for and I love finding photographers who find new ways to look at the world.

  • February 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    These are some really beautiful and original works of art. As a writer, I often struggle with the thought that “it’s been done before.” I agree with your suggestion that an original perspective is crucial for meaningful art. I’ve also found that just as experiences and emotions are repeated, art and literature can be powerful even when focused on “done” subjects. Simply because one has felt joy, misery, horror, etc. doesn’t make the subsequent experience of these emotions less raw. Perhaps art, regardless of subject, is fulfilling one of its purposes by engendering such experiential responses, as long as they are authentic.

    • February 10, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Very true, Erin. Some of the best pieces of art have been the artist’s different take on “done” subjects. Great thought and so glad you liked the post!

  • February 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Great post, and the photographs are spectacular! One of the greatest challenges as an artist is finding a way to reinvent the approach to art. Everything has been done before so it’s not about avoiding used topics as much as it is about finding a new way to express art. Great inspiration for all of us.

  • February 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Sidarous brings up the struggle that every artist undergoes: making room for their art in a world already filled with great art. As a writer, it feels impossible to come up with a new plot. Thanks a lot Shakespeare! Subject matter included, there is not much that hasn’t been written about. So it was inspiring to read Sidarous’ prescription: let the natural artistic process guide those compelling initial concepts. I sketch out some of my poems or fictional scenes beforehand too! Exploring new perspectives on a subject is what I found helpful when trying to create something original. This blog has really inspired me to put more faith in the unexpected. Sidarous took superb photographs, by the way. Only he could’ve taken them.

  • February 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Artwork really exists between two people as it is experienced, and with the artist as it is created. I guess it is a language of form with most artists struggling to say what has not been said before – no matter the medium. The core existence of art lies in having the ability to create.

  • February 12, 2013 at 8:49 am

    This post was extremely inspiring! I agree with the post and everyone’s comments that to be unique in this world truly is a challenge, but even if the subject matter has been done before, each person brings in their own perspective.
    I love Sidarous’ photography compilations as well! Beautiful!

  • February 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    One of the best photographs I’ve ever seen was taken of a tree’s root system. Most often, I like looking at nautical photography the most, but those roots drew me right in. Boring, ugly, brown, meditative little maze of insightfulness is what they were, and it was all in the photographer, I’m convinced. He showed them to me as he saw them, and it made all the difference.

  • February 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I think your work is absolutely beautiful! What I find it encouraging that your professor told you not to photograph mountains, and yet here you are. Producing beautiful works of art. I am inspired at your creativity and devotion to your craft.

  • February 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    I really like what you said about brainstorming, “An idea may not be completely clear when beginning a new project, but visiting the same piece over and over will open up new ways of thinking about it and will slowly reveal its purpose”. I totally agree with this and I think that brainstorming is one of the fun aspects of any project. It gets the creative juices flowing and opens your mind up to many other things, not just the one you are working on.

  • February 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I love the play of colors and light in these pictures, they almost have a modern day impressionistic twist (Not that I actually know art or photography that well). Art isn’t about finding an original subject matter, at least it isn’t anymore, it’s about finding an original perspective. For example: the way mountains are photographed today are not the same way they were photographed twenty years ago. I love that you took your teacher’s advice as a challenge and out of it grew something as amazing as these photos. I think this is not only a lesson on originality but also a lesson on overcoming a “can’t” attitude.

  • February 25, 2013 at 11:44 am

    It is amazing how many new ways people can come up with to view the same objects. The pictures are beautiful, and really interesting to look at!

  • February 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I love composite photography, it was one of my favorite projects when I was a photography student in high school. Your photo compilations are gorgeous. I like that you took your teacher’s advice, which seems kind of mean to me, and turned it into a new perspective on photography. I often have the same kind of thoughts in my head when I think about creating “original” art. Like, how am I suppose to create something original when it seems like everything has been done already? It really challenges me to think out of the box and do something completely new.

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